Student Travel Unmasked: Exploring the Facade

- in Krönika/Studentliv, Krönikor

When in Europe... Lundagård's student life columnist Alexandra Bradley has travelled halfway to the moon in terms of distance to get to Lund. And she wants to make the most of it.

Last week I was in Morocco. This week I’m in Sweden. Next week I’ll be in Germany.

Every time the train pulls into Lund C, I am filled with a sense of awe. How can I – in one hour – be in a neighboring country or – in just 4 hours! – be on another continent? This amazement is probably heightened by the fact that I come from a country that is approximately 14 500 km away from Europe. Can you guess where?

Ding ding ding: Australia. 

To put 14 500km in context is simple. The distance to the moon is 384 400km, so I would only have to travel back and forth between Europe and Australia 13 times to make that distance. I have already done this 6 times. So, in terms of travelling from my home to Europe and back, I am halfway to the moon.

And maybe the moon would be easier! With strict European regulations and Visa requirements, expensive airlines and the sheer geographical distance: Europe is a bitch to get to. Flights from Australia to Copenhagen can take anywhere from 25 to 35 hours with airfares costing on average 20 000 SEK.

However, being based in Europe as an international student, allows me to completely skip these inconveniences. Crossing borders is suddenly no longer a big deal. With a spring in my step and my Swedish student residence permit in tow, I can be on a short flight or high-speed train to any EU nation. And I am going to make the most of this new luxury. Just like every other foreign exchange student with means to do so is. Prior to Morocco, I spent a March weekend in Italy with my roommates, my birthday in February in Cyprus and New Years in the Austrian Alps.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: How can I finance these trips? The truth is many international students work part-time jobs with wages comparable to those in Europe whilst studying. In my case, I saved every penny I could from three years of part-time work alongside my Bachelors before moving to Sweden for my Masters.

Plus, it’s important to note that whilst travelling, our trip is far from glamorous. As students, we do everything possible to stretch our budgets, even if it means staying in hostels, taking longer bus routes, or enduring overnight stopovers in less-than-ideal locations.

But it’s all worth it in the end. Studying in Europe offers a plethora of new cultures and landscapes all within arm’s reach away (or at least it feels like it).