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Life Changing ExperienceThe title reflects what several students communicated to me after returning: this trip was a life changing experience.
Leading up to the trip - as a first time Group Leader - I was impressed by the pre-trip orientation (in Dublin) and consistent communication and advice from my Tour Consultant.
Once we landed in London, our Tour Director (TD) did so much to ensure the students' experience was maximized as we embarked on our ambitious itinerary of London, Paris, Zurich and Milan in less than two weeks.
Our TD's experience leading groups and deep knowledge of each location added so much value to the trip. His ability to relate history, culture and business was impressive.
Finally, a word on our business visits. As this trip was a Business & Culture in Europe college course, they were key. EF did a wonderful job providing four visits that spanned a start up, a small business, a large media company and a Fortune 500 company with offices in 100+ countries.
The students were impressed by the speakers at each business - this business visit program adds tremendous value to the overall experience. There was also a lecture from a business professor in London that set the context for the cultural differences the students would experience across Europe.
This trip was a win for my students. The travel, accommodations and meals were all delivered without a hitch and exceeded expectations. The experiential learning was impressive with the memorable business visits.
My colleague and I will be offering the same itinerary next year and look forward to many future adventures in partnership with EF in the years to come.
Best experience of my life!This was the BEST experience of my life! Cannot wait until I'm able to travel to Europe again!
(This was my first experience of international travel.)
London, UK was a great first location for Europe. Learning new/different uses for English words was fun and challenging. The pace is so fast in London, so it took a day or two to get used to that --right about when our group was moving on to Paris.
Paris, France: This was my ABSOLUTE favorite city on the tour! Thankfully I brought a basic "travel phrases" book with me, so I was able to use a little bit of French when shopping/eating out. I loved getting to see Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, The Louvre (I took a picture w/ the Mona Lisa!). The food was AMAZING in France! --I definitely want to return here where I can have a full week or so to explore the city.
Zurich/Luzern, Switzerland: This was such a picture-perfect country! Right when our train entered Switzerland, you immediately see sprawling green hills and cute cottages/houses all over the place. While Switzerland was VERY expensive, it was also clean, beautiful, and very welcoming!
--Mt. Pilatus was EXCEPTIONAL! This is MUST excursion for anyone taking this tour! Every photo I took up here could have been a postcard!
Milano, Italy (extension): I enjoyed Milano when we had free time. In a way, I wish we could have visited a different Italian city --Florence, Venice, Rome... There wasn't much to do/see in Milan other than Il Duomo --the beautiful cathedral! Unfortunately, after visiting the cathedral (which took maybe 30-45 minutes), there wasn't a lot to do.
--The Galleria was neat to see, but the stores consisted of mostly high-end retailers --Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, etc --stores I can't afford to shop at. And they don't have many 'reasonably/average-priced" stores in the main city area.
--The walking tour was nice, but short (maybe 45 minutes to an hour) --and there wasn't much to see after that.
**Most importantly, I did NOT like the location of the hotel in Milan --it was about an hour drive out of inner-city Milan --and no subway/local transportation existed from there.
--Because of this, we depended on a charter bus driver to get us back and forth during the day/evening --and in Europe, bus drivers have STRICT regulations on how many hours they can drive. We had to leave downtown Milan by 9:30pm..... It would have been nice to stay out a little bit later to experience the nightlife.
--The hotel was beautiful and modern, but they charged for Wi-Fi (unlike the other hotels we stayed at where Wi-Fi was free), so that was a disappointment --especially when we need to communicate with our teachers on the trip and family back home.
**In addition, the "Welcome Dinner" in Milan wasn't very good. I was expecting spaghetti, lasagna, etc --instead we had hard veal (I couldn't cut it with my knife), risotto (not awful, but not real flavorful), and a sorbet ice cream (tiramisu/gelato is what I'd expected --the sorbet was refreshing, though).
--Could a different restaurant be chosen for future visits?
Overall, the trip was great! The breakfasts were PLENTIFUL at the hotels! I HIGHLY recommend bringing 'basic phrase' books to help you with communication --most countries speak English, but you'll receive a little more respect from the locals if you TRY to speak in their language initially.
THANK YOU, EF, for introducing me to the world! I will NEVER forget this experience! :)
Great Experience!This tour was great. I missed the first three days and thus the first city for reasons beyond mine or EF's control. However, the remainder of the tour was awesome. I've never been to Europe and being able to visit and learn about their most popular cities for such a reasonable cost was fantastic. Every aspect of the tour was wonderful. I love how EF allows travelers to experience the ways of life of the local people; using the metro, free time to explore and immerse into the culture. My favorite was Rome. The best food! I also got to enjoy a traditional training session at Gladiator School. This is where I had the most amazing lunch with the tastiest and freshest salad ever. I would definitely do it again and if I'm looking for a tour in the future I'll be considering EF.
Awesome Experience!This tour was awesome. I had been to London several times before but really enjoyed seeing it again and learning about the Olympics Project. I found Paris to be a beautiful city and would like to go there again. It was amazing to be able to walk through the Rome Forum and visiualize the activities at the Coliseum. In addition to learning about the various cultures this tour provided an opportunity to compare the business environment in Europe with the United States.
EuropeI had a wonderful time. I didn't think it would have been as fun as it was. My tour director was an awesome person who knew so much about the places we went to.
Great TripThe overall itinerary of the trip was excellent. The tour guide with our group made all the difference to the trip. I would recommend this trip to anyone that is interested in experiencing the different cultures of Europe in only two weeks.
Epic ExperienceIt was incredible, and totally worth it!!!
EducationalWe went to many many landmarks and had fun along the way. I was happy that I went and even almost two years later I still speak about my experiences there. It's truly an experience you will never forget.
Cultural and Friendly ExpirienceMy travel to London, Paris and Rome was incredible rich in feelings. It was full of cultural knowledge, designs and history. I feel like walking through my history and economic readings. Also, the groups activities, and tours motivated the personal interaction of ideas and conversations. I had the opportunity to share with people, and increase my personal and cultural background.
Incredible OpportunityI had the most incredible time studying overseas. Having the chance to mix and mingle with locals in London and try the cruisine in Rome will stay with me a lifetime!! If I had the chance to go again without any hesitation I am going!