Travel is the best form of education

By Victoria Giordano
November 29, 2022

Mont Saint Michel, a commune in Normandy, France (May 29, 2022). Photo by Victoria Giordano.

For as long as I can remember, I have always valued education. I prefer to focus on my studies and stay out of trouble over going out every night. I also struggled with social anxiety and felt like I didn’t fit in with most of the kids at school.

Until the summer of 2019, almost a year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, my mom took me on a trip to Germany and Denmark. This trip was my first time traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. 

I didn’t realize it then, but that was the most life-changing trip of my life. It opened my eyes to realize there’s so much more to this big, magnificent world than a classroom setting and the Metropolitan suburbs I grew up in. This inspired me not only to study abroad during my college years but also to take advantage of traveling as an educational experience. 

Culture and languages

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany (July 6, 2019). Photo by Karen Giordano.

Throughout most of our trip, we stayed with family friends who resided in the German countryside. There, I was introduced to trying new foods, such as spaetzle. I had the privilege of meeting new people, relatives of my family friends, and I got a taste of their style of clothing and friendliness.

Growing up outside of New York City, I have always been used to fast-paced environments. When I toured Germany’s cities, such as Berlin, I was in awe of their relaxedness, the nightlife, and the historical memorials of past wars. I experienced the same atmosphere in other small German villages, as well as in a coastal village by the Baltic Sea in Sønderborg, Denmark. 

Best of all, I learned the basics of the German language. My vacation in Germany and Denmark taught me about the variety of people, lifestyles, foods, and a new language. I finally felt like there was a place where I belonged.

Improvising and introspection

After the chaos of COVID-19 finally subsided, my mom and I were beyond excited to go back to Europe. This time, we ventured to London, England, and Normandy and Paris, France.

A view of Tower Bridge on the Thames River in London, England (May 21, 2022). Photo by Victoria Giordano.

London and Paris are both known for fashion, so I decided to dress a bit more fashionably than I normally do. I found out that I had a classy, casual style and decided to work towards changing my wardrobe.

Everyone back in the United States was still cautious about COVID-19. However, in Europe, they acted as if the illness never existed. I learned how to use trains as a form of public transportation and adjusted to being in public places without practicing social distancing or wearing masks. 

Something I did not expect during this trip was the lack of sleep. Despite my exhaustion, I was able to tour famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Mont Saint-Michel, the London Eye, and the Churchill War Rooms. It made me realize adventures are worth losing sleep over.

My second trip to Europe continued to teach me about the variety of cultures and languages, but also taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and learn to improvise for whatever adventures may across my path. Again, I felt like I belonged somewhere. 

New perspectives on life

The Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up at night (May 26, 2022). Photo by Victoria Giordano.

Traveling to see new places not only taught me about diverse cultures, languages, and stepping out of my comfort zone, but it also gave me a new perspective on life.

My education at Cabrini has most certainly given me an excellent education and new perspectives, but seeing the world in person has given me new viewpoints on society. The world isn’t as scary as some may think.

Being taught in a classroom setting and reading books is valuable to me and an essential way to receive an education. But I will be studying abroad in London because traveling has been the best form of education I have ever gotten. I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone and witnessed some of the unfamiliar beauty the world holds. 

If you are interested in studying abroad for a semester, Cabrini offers programs in London, along with Rome, Italy, Argentina, Western Australia, Northern Ireland, and an onboard at sea experience. You can contact Dr. Paul Wright, Cabrini’s study abroad coordinator, to get more information. 

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Victoria Giordano

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