Photo Series: 10 things studying abroad taught me


Last fall, I studied abroad at Webster’s Geneva, Switzerland campus. After spending four months exploring six countries and 14 cities, here are 10 things I learned from the experience.

All photos in this series were taken by Vanessa Jones.

The view on a 1 hour-long flight from Geneva, Switzerland, to Nice, France. While abroad, my goal was to visit a new city every other week. It took 10 flights, eight buses, and six trains to explore Switzerland, France, Greece, Spain, Italy and England. Once in Europe, traveling was super affordable. Budget airlines such as Easyjet, my average round trip was $125.


French workers protest on the streets of Paris. Protests and strikes happen everywhere in Europe. I planned around bus strikes to get to campus, was woken up by hundreds of people marching outside my window, and learned how to travel around London during a train strike.


The Mona Lisa surrounded by patrons of the Louvre Museum in Paris. At the beginning of the semester, I spent a weekend in Paris visiting every museum I could. Seeing famous works of art was incredible, but I regret that I spent the majority of my time in Paris indoors. After Paris, I was burnt out of museums and tried my best to explore the cities and local cultures more.


Webster student Micah Barnes alongside a souvenir shop owner in Athens, Greece. I studied abroad with my close friend and teammate, Micah. We were also roommates and traveled to many places together. At first, we were a little worried about traveling alone as young women. While we still took many precautions, we ended up having no issues. Instead, we met many friendly people who helped us better explore and experience the cities we visited. Our favorite city was Athens because of its people. 


A gondola ride in Venice, Italy. Say “yes” to experiences! I tried my best not to worry about money. While I don’t remember how much it was to ride a gondola in Venice, Italy or sled in Zermatt, Switzerland, I remember how fun it was.


A bratwurst in Basel, Switzerland. Say “yes” to food! Not only is food one of the best ways to experience a new culture, but due to the higher quality food standards in Europe, I ate whatever I wanted and still felt healthier and less bloated than I did in the U.S.


Study abroad student Nike Adewumi taking photos in Burano, an island in Venice, Italy. No matter where you are, you can always find people with similar interests as you. I was lucky to find a friend who would also get left behind by the group because they were too busy trying to get a picture of a cat.


A stray cat in Venice, Italy. Stray dogs and cats were everywhere!


The backside of the Matterhorn, as seen from Breuil-Cervenia, Italy. I learned to not be afraid to experience things alone. I spent most of my time studying abroad with at least one person by my side. The number one thing I wanted to do during my semester abroad was to ski the Swiss Alps. I couldn’t find a friend to ski with me, so I went alone. It ended up being one of my favorite memories from my whole trip.


My friends and I in Zermatt, Switzerland, for our last day trip of the semester. The most important thing I took from my experience abroad was the friendships I made. From lying in someone’s room for a movie night to lying on a beach in Barcelona, Spain, they were with me every step of the way.


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Vanessa Jones
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