If you’ve ever done a college study abroad trip you would probably scoff at the part of the title that asks if I became a regular. Of course, I was! I’ve truly never been one to drink much. The first time I ever drank was actually in college. I was never a party girl and to this day I still wouldn’t consider myself one.
Studying abroad brings something so different out of you. I have this all over my site and I will continue to say it – I have never been a better version of myself than who I am when I’m traveling the world. There’s something that makes you feel so free and alive! I don’t know if this is the same experience that the others in my group felt inside of them, but I sure hope so. It would be a shame to miss out on something so beautiful like the adventure taking place inside your soul.
With all that being said, myself and my group of Serbian friends had two bars that were our go-to spots for a fun night out, Bundesbar and Garrison’s Irish Pub. Either one is a guaranteed night of drinking, laughing and playing games. Both of them have dartboards and foosball and really great atmospheres. I can’t think of a single time we went out where some sort of intense gaming competition did not take place.
Both of them were within a few blocks walking from all our apartments and we never forgot to swing by Natural Kebab Jaén for a ridiculously cheap, delicious, hit-the-spot kebab.
Looking back I definitely drank more than I should have and more than any normal person should ever. It’s different in Europe though and that’s something I really appreciated. People don’t drink to get drunk the way they do here in the states. They drink for social reasons. They drink to have a good time and enjoy their night. Only on rare occasions did I see any Spanish person belligerently drunk, and trust me, they stood out because they were the only ones.
Being a regular was a cool experience that really made me feel like I had a different understanding of the culture and like they had a different understanding of me. Being American and going abroad you can find some tough crowds. There are stereotypes that are accurate and stereotypes that are limited to a few persons in America. I had the power to sway the image in a positive way and I took pride in feeling like I was able to accomplish that.
The bar owners even told me one night that I’m not a typical American and that they enjoy having me in their bars because I’m not obnoxious and intolerable. OUCH right?! I know it was a compliment towards me, but it makes me sad they have such bad experiences with tourists that it can ruin the image of a whole country. I tried to always be kind, calm, fun, but pleasant, because the truth is, there’s always someone watching.
Enjoy yourself. Be respectful. Have fun. Remember, you have the chance to make a difference anywhere you go.