I studied abroad through an exchange with the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England during the Fall 2013 semester. Because I was an exchange student, I got to stay in the dorms with other international students. Throughout the semester, my flatmates and I became really good friends and I still talk to them. Some of my best friends in England were from Malaysia, Italy, and France. I was able to learn a lot about their cultures and beliefs, which are often extremely different from American culture and beliefs.
Through my host school's International Students club, I was able to travel to cities around England, like Cambridge, Oxford, and London. Hatfield was so close to London (only 25 minutes by train!) that I went there quite often. London is such a unique city. Each borough is so different from the other, so it was easy to have a new experience each time I went. I also had a chance to travel with a group of friends to Brighton, a city in the south of England. It's a beautiful beach town during warm weather months!
Towards the end of my semester abroad, my school went on winter break for about 3 weeks, and during this time I was able to travel to other countries. I went to Barcelona with a friend, and it was beautiful! I tried paella, a traditional Spanish rice and seafood dish, for the first time. I also visited La Sagrada Familia and other places Gaudi designed, as well as my first ever football game! I also stayed with friends when I visited Berlin and Norway, and they let me get an insider's view of their cities and cultures. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to see how other people live and think, because I probably couldn't have learned these things without the experience of traveling to a new country.
Get involved! Everyone will probably say this, but it is so true! My only regret in my study abroad experience was that I wasn't more involved in clubs and groups on my host uni's campus. It really gives you a more authentic interaction with local students.