Last years’s Breaking News Editor Suzanne Craig chronicles her adventures while studying abroad in Sweden.
Some trips are worth it though, so research ahead of time is a good idea. Unless you are one of those lucky people who can fling money at a problem until it gets fixed, the money you save can be worth the time you spend.
An example is the Glass/Moose trip the local international student organization (VIS) set up. It was 150 kroner for the day trip, which is about $25 and it included a tour of a local glassworks, a couple hours in a glass-outlet mall for lunch and a moose nature reserve. Most of the cost was in the transportation. Considering there weren’t any direct bus routes from town to the glassworks or the moose park, at least two, maybe three tickets would have to be purchased. Add in the walking distance from the nearest stop to the attractions in miserable weather and the direct bus-ride in company of friends starts to look priceless.
Other trips, like the trip to Russia, are a bit of a rip-off, but the extra cost is for the added convenience. Arranging a weeklong trip to Russia while taking classes, trying to learn a new language and going through day-to-day life in a new country is possible. It’s just a hassle that some don’t feel is worth it. So instead, they pay the extra money for someone else to do all the work.
Then there is the final classification, the trips that gouge your pocketbook for no apparent reason. The IKEA outing organized by the VIS was another day trip, this one amounting to 125 kroner, around 20 dollars. The bus tickets necessary to go to IKEA independently are 22 kroner both ways, even if it does take longer to get there than it did on the VIS trip.
The tickets were all VIS covered, so the convenience charge was 81 kroner, a little over 13 dollars. This may seem not a big deal, but why go on a trip to IKEA if you weren’t planning to buy something there? According to students who went on the trip, they also barely had enough time to look around before it was time to leave.
“We got there and most of us barely made it through the display floor when… it was time to go,” Maliha Kaya, a student from Turkey, said.
Day-trips can often be organized without the student organizations help and you’ll not only save money, you’ll be able to keep your own schedule without worrying about being left behind by a bus (which happens). Longer trips, especially those outside the country, are usually the better deal. Not all destinations are serviced though, so getting used to planning your own day trips can serve as practice for planning a big trip later on.
Another option could be to not go on any trips at all, but why travel abroad if taking advantage of that wasn’t the plan? As nice as the university’s surrounding area may be, there’s a whole country out there you should at least try to see. Also, passports can’t collect stamps without crossing a few borders. Save some money for the study abroad year to travel around, don’t become an apartment lurker.