Because in life there is no better teacher than experience, I would like to share with you some of the lessons I have gathered from my times living in the Old World:
Always guard your purse or bag. Thieves are smooth and quick, and you won’t know what’s happened until it’s too late. You may hear this often, but you hear it because it is true.
In Barcelona, do not buy the red beer from the street sellers in Las Ramblas. If it is stored in the sewers, it is not a good idea to drink it. Also, don’t piss off the prostitutes who roam there at night – they will give you lip back.
Drink the coffee. You have never tasted coffee so good. Eat ice cream. Try chocolates. Eat the tapas. Experiencing a city is all about tasting its foods, so try it all.
Walk the city. Experience the life as a native does. But pause and admire the sights. Every place has a rich history of development and art to offer. Don’t miss a beat. This is where the learning comes from.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Try to blend in with the locals wherever you are – it’s a much more genuine experience of a city. If you stick out like a sore thumb, they will get you with either jacked-up prices or pinpoint you as the crazy American tourist; neither is pleasant. You can get cheaper prices on most souvenirs – always keep looking. You’ll find great deals.
Walking in London is one of the fastest ways to get around the city if you know where you’re going. It is also one of the fastest ways to pick out a tourist from the crowd.
Living the life of a Londoner means learning how to jaywalk at the right moment, looking left for cars instead of right. It means commuting to work with a busy, stern stare into your newspaper, which will be discarded at the first rubbish bin.
My last word of advice: travel. The world is at your fingertips here. Take advantage of it. And if you come to Europe, I have to emphasize: Go to Florence. Firenze in low season is wonderful. The lines for museums are nonexistent and the prices are friendly on our poor-dollar wallets. Italy is a dream and Firenze, with its Duomo floating at its city center, is a piece of heaven sitting right here on Earth. It is a celebration of the human ability to create beauty and celebrate history.
With this, I’m signing off until I return stateside for one last semester of the Cane-Miami experience.Ciao!
Bernardita “Beni” Yunis is a senior majoring in communication studies, international studies, and religious studies. She hopes you’ll send her some Miami love at firstname.lastname@example.org.