Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Sticker Shock

Today I looked at the Twenty Most Expensive Cities in the World. Two of the cities on the list I will be traveling to for Spring Break: London, the number one most expensive city, and Stockholm, Sweden, number 15. Next week I jet off to Copenhagen, Denmark, number 10. Tickets to get there were not the cheapest (I’m still wondering about this mythical “cheap travel” all the Europeans keep talking about), and I haven’t dared look into food and souvenirs.

From the castle, a view of Bratislava.
From the castle, a view of Bratislava.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited to have this opportunity to travel to places I would not otherwise go to. And yes, I knew study abroad was not going to be cheap. But this knowledge has not prevented a striking case of sticker shock to make my stomach churn.

Perhaps it’s because Vienna is not the cheapest city. Livable, yes, but not cheap. I generally pay about 25 Euro (40 USD) for groceries a week, and if I go out and do my research, a meal costs me about eight to 10 Euro. Not bad. There are still elements, however, that make me miss my cheap, capitalist American items. For instance, the chicken here is extremely expensive. I know that the reason it’s more expensive is because there are no probiotics plumping up the chickens, but I’ve definitely eaten organic chicken for less than 12 dollars at home.

I compare these prices to my recent trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. Bratislava is an hour away from Vienna and much of its Old Town dates back to the 9th century. For a day trip, the entire trip cost 25 Euro. That is including travel, a giant meal, drink and dessert, and a souvenir. Did I think that the trip was worth it besides the cost factor? Absolutely. The town had a cool vibe to it and there were funky statues lining all of Old Town. The view from the castle was astounding, and the food was definitely in the top three meals I’ve had in Europe.

One of the funky statues in Old Town.
One of the funky statues in Old Town.

The cheapness of Bratislava has also made me realize that you don’t have to venture far or to the “Big Name” cities to have a good time or experience something new. Slovakia was never on my list of places to go before I came here. Now, Bratislava is a place I wouldn’t mind going back to. Yes, I’m very excited to be going to these countries, but I also think study abroad should be about seeing the surrounding areas. You never know what you’re going to find.

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