During my exchange in Birmingham, England, I traveled a lot alone to other parts of the UK and nearby European countries. I went on a trip to Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany all by myself. While it was boring traveling alone, it did give me the flexibility to explore at my own pace and do what I like to do while traveling. For, whenever I travel alone, I spend lots of time in museums, especially museums showcasing or exhibiting art or history, as I am fascinated with art and history.
In Belgium, I stayed in Brussels, and also visited Bruges and Ghent. I love Belgium for its very beautiful architecture, rich and diverse culture, and food. Belgium is a mix of French-speaking and Dutch-speaking cultures, as well as a diverse culture beyond that. Parts of the country speak French, and parts of it speak Dutch. Brussels is a bilingual city, with signs everywhere in both French and Dutch. However, it is only the Brussels area that is bilingual, the other parts of the country are either only French or only Dutch. When I took the train from Brussels to Ghent, when I arrived in Ghent, all the signs were only in Dutch, and while at the train station in Ghent waiting to take the train back to Brussels, I had to navigate signs in Dutch. In Brussels, I practiced my French, as French is the main language there, even though it is a bilingual city. There were packages of food items that were in Dutch and French, but no English, so I read the French part, as I know French very well.
Luxembourg is a very beautiful small country, and I spent 1 night there. It has very beautiful architecture too, and I went to a museum showcasing the history of Luxembourg and culture of Luxembourg.
Germany was different from what I expected. When I arrived in Frankfurt, my first impression of Germany was not that of a medieval German town, the traditional German charm of most people have in mind when they think of Germany. I ventured out to some towns near Frankfurt, such as Heidelberg, and over there, it feels like the “real” Germany that most people think of it. In order to get a feel of the “real” Germany that tends to come to mind, you have to get out of Frankfurt to nearby towns, as Frankfurt is a modern city and a financial center, so many visitors to Frankfurt are surprised by what they see of it is not much of the Germany they think of.
Travelling alone made me get out of my comfort zone, something I thought I wouldn't have done without this exchange opportunity.