Travel changes people: Why you should travel this summer and what Germany has done for me

Students are graduating, studying for final exams, and finalizing their summer plans. For me this semester has been eventful, unexpected and full of memories. I hope others can say the same.  

With summer closely approaching, I hope you’ve made plans to travel. Travel anywhere, whether it’s to a different country, state, or just a city you’ve never been to. There’s something about traveling, meeting new people, and trying new things that changes people.  

Before I started my exchange semester in Germany, I was very comfortable with where I was. I had a plan for post-graduation, I had a daily routine, and I knew what was going to happen the next day. Yet, now, because I made the decision to leave my life in Myrtle Beach and explore this new opportunity, I feel like a new person.  

I don’t regret it at all.  

Travel forces people to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It pushes you to become more aware of your surroundings, meet new people, and do things you never thought you would. It is beautiful and scary all in one, but once you witness it, it’s life changing.  

Living in Europe grants me a chance of a lifetime. I am living in a country that is directly surrounded by various other countries that have entirely different cultures and languages. Therefore, while I am here, I am going to be a sponge and make myself available for as many experiences as possible.  

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Brussels and Amsterdam. Here I witnessed another language barrier, I did not have access to modes of transportation, and I was only with one other person, but it is one of the greatest travel experiences I have had, and I will cherish it forever.  

Here I visited the “Eiffel Tower of Brussels” which is a large structure called the Atomium. It was built in 1958 for the World Fair and was such a big hit, that it stayed and has since been renovated over the years. The structure looks like nine enlarged atoms made of aluminum. 

Inside the structure, guests can see a panorama view of the city, an exhibit that interchanges, and multiple light shows. In Brussels I also tried what the city is known for, which includes beer, chocolate, waffles and fries.  

While in Amsterdam, I walked the city and saw the most bicycles I’d ever seen in my life. It’s a lively city constantly buzzing with people, full of coffee shops, and canals intersecting every street. Here I visited Vondelpark where I could have stayed forever.  

It was a beautiful sight to see hundreds of people sunbathing, sharing drinks, and holding picnics with family and friends. I will always be reminded of Amsterdam when I see tulips, Vincent Van Gogh, or bicycles. 

When I return home, whether it be in August or next year, I know I am going to see things differently. I will see people in a new light, there are certain things I will not take for granted, and I’ll be more open-minded to ideas, even more than I was before.  

I hope this series has inspired or encouraged someone to travel, try new things, meet people who look different from them, or pushed someone to step out of their comfort zone.  

Enjoy this summer; I will remain up to date with things from across the pond.