As mentioned in an earlier post, it’s highly economical and worth it (academically, and developmentally) to visit locations near your program location to maximize the long-distance cost, but also to provide an extra dose of the same type of elements your study abroad program will expose you to. Learning about new foods, how to make purchases in a foreign setting. Learning how locals get around and visit their families in neighboring countries, etc.
I’m visiting family in London before my program begins in Spain. I am hoping to tarry there for two weeks before embarking by train to Madrid through major European cities like Vienna (Wien), Austria and Prague (Praha), Czech Republic. Notice the spellings in parentheses? Those are the localized names of the cities, and those are the way names are printed on rail maps of Europe. Why? Well, I assume that, assuming all countries are equal, their languages are as well, and one can’t assume that the English version, for example, is more suitable than the localized one. Also, by referring to cities by their localized name, the problem of translation from any of the numerous languages spoken in Europe becomes less acute, when the “original” is used. This means that french speakers do not need to know what the city of Koln is called in English (Cologne). This would seem tobe less of a problem in Europe where most people are bilingual, but one can’t be expected to know all languages, and to avoid the favouritism aspect once again.
So, here is a Google Maps map of my destination cities and some points of interest I highlighted from lists I found on the internet. I would be happy to know of any more places I can fit into my schedule!