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Two Weeks, Five Countries: How Studying in Germany Made European Travel Easy

My journey in Germany began with exploring various cities and towns, and it didn't take long for me to fall in love with traveling. So far, I've visited over 60 cities and towns across Germany and almost 16 countries around the world, each offering something unique—from historic buildings and modern architecture to friendly locals and delicious new dishes.

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina© Umar

Traveling has always brought me joy, and Germany’s central location makes it a perfect hub for exploring the rest of Europe. Before coming to Germany, I had already traveled to the Middle East and Central Asia, so the idea of exploring new countries was not new to me. However, studying in Germany is quite demanding with classes, research papers, and exams, which makes it challenging to find time to travel outside the country. That’s why I decided to visit five countries in one go, choosing destinations that lined up perfectly for a seamless travel experience.

First Stop: Helsinki, Finland

My journey began in Berlin, where I took a flight to Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki, with its cozy and clean environment, friendly people, and amazing seafood, was a great start to my adventure. I spent three days there, exploring main attractions and making new friends.

Next Destination: Tallinn, Estonia

Next, I took a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia—a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The views of the Baltic Sea were breathtaking, and Tallinn’s charm exceeded my expectations. I spent four delightful days in this affordable city, enjoying its beauty and hospitality.

Exploring Riga, Latvia

From Tallinn, I took a bus to Riga, Latvia. Although my stay was short—only two days—I managed to see most of the city and soak in its vibrant atmosphere. Riga introduced me to a vibrant student community and offered a rich blend of culture and history.

Discovering Vilnius, Lithuania

Following Riga, I headed to Vilnius, Lithuania, which surprised me with its stunning buildings and numerous Orthodox churches. The city had a deeply religious vibe, and I even found a fascinating virtual mirror where people from Poland could see us and vice versa. The unique blend of history and modernity made Vilnius a memorable stop on my journey.

Final Destination: Poland

My final destination was Poland, where I spent the longest time. I visited Warsaw, Krakow, and Wroclaw. Warsaw, with its impressive skyscrapers, was particularly memorable. I stayed in an apartment on the 26th floor, surrounded by towering buildings that made the nightscape mesmerizing. Poland offered a mix of historical sites and modern attractions, making it a perfect end to my journey.

Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw, Poland© Umar

The Rich Tapestry of Europe

This two-week tour was a whirlwind of new experiences, from the stunning landscapes of Finland to the cultural richness of the Baltic states and the dynamic city life in Poland. Each country offered its own unique charm and set of memories. I made many new friends, learned about different cultures, tasted a variety of foods, and explored numerous landmarks.

Studying in Germany: A Gateway to Europe

Studying in Germany has not only been an academic journey but also a gateway to exploring Europe. This tour will always hold a special place in my heart, representing the beauty of stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing the diverse tapestry of our world.

Balancing Academics and Travel

Embarking on this journey taught me the value of balancing academic responsibilities with the joys of travel. Despite the demands of my studies, I found that planning and efficient time management allowed me to make the most of my two-week adventure. Traveling between classes and research gave me a much-needed break, and I returned to my studies with renewed energy and inspiration.

Making Connections and Learning Cultures

Meeting new people was one of the highlights of my trip. In Helsinki, I connected with locals who shared insights into their culture and way of life. In Tallinn, I made friends with fellow travelers, exchanging stories and experiences. Riga introduced me to a vibrant student community, while Vilnius offered the chance to engage with history and tradition. Poland, with its mix of old and new, allowed me to see how different cities adapt to modernity while preserving their heritage.

Embracing Unique Flavors

Each country I visited had its own unique flavor. Helsinki’s modern yet historic vibe, Tallinn’s medieval charm, Riga’s art nouveau architecture, Vilnius’s religious and cultural depth, and Poland’s dynamic cities—all these experiences contributed to a rich tapestry of memories. Whether it was savoring local cuisines, exploring historical sites, or simply wandering through city streets, every moment added to the joy of my European adventure.

The Ease of European Travel

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I am to study in Germany, a country that not only offers excellent education but also serves as a gateway to the rest of Europe. The ease of travel within the Schengen Area allowed me to explore multiple countries without the hassle of visa applications, making my journey smooth and enjoyable.

Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia© Umar

Conclusion: A Journey of Growth and Discovery

In conclusion, my two-week tour of five European countries was more than just a travel experience; it was a journey of self-discovery, cultural immersion, and personal growth. It reaffirmed my belief in the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and embracing the unknown. As I continue my studies at Technical University Ilmenau, I carry with me the lessons learned and the memories made during this incredible adventure. This journey will always be a reminder of the endless possibilities that lie ahead when we dare to explore and dream.

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Umar stands in Berlin in front of a painted piece of the Berlin Wall. You can see the socialist brotherly kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker, a painting by Dmitri Vladimirovich Wrubel at the East Side Gallery.
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