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Cecily JurassicThe main thing that I, as a U.S. Citizen, have yet to get used to is the simplicity of being able to travel here in the UK, as well as the rest of Europe. Ridiculous airline prices and a massive country are perhaps the reason as to why I always saw travelling as something that is not as readily accessible back home in the States.

However, coming to the UK was a real eye-opener to the concept that travelling doesn’t have to be such a tedious process. For winter holidays, I was able to take a trip to Italy to see family, something that I couldn’t have done if I was still in the U.S.A. In July, a friend and I are taking a trip up to her hometown in Northern Ireland, just 15 minutes outside of Belfast. Not only will it be a short hour-long plane ride, but also a round-trip ticket cost just £70! I was in such a state of disbelief, that I kept asking my friend if she was joking about the price – she was not.

Although being in the UK has given me the opportunity to travel around Europe for much cheaper than flying all the way from the U.S.A., I’ve discovered that exploring where I live is something I prefer more (plus, getting a Master’s degree is a bit too time-consuming to be backpacking across Europe).  From weekend trips to London, to daytrips around South West England, there are more than enough things to do. From Poole Harbour, Salisbury and Stonehenge, and the city of Bath to the majority of the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door, and even Monkey World, sometimes I wonder why tourists just stick to the city of London when coming to England.  Local tour companies, such as Discover Dorset, can take you on day-trip excursions to all of these places for a cheaper price and a much more personalised experience than doing so yourself. Bournemouth University and the Student Union partners with Discover Dorset at the beginning of the school term, giving students the opportunity to go on these trips at a discounted price. Check out Discover Dorset here.

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The Bournemouth Train Station can take you almost anywhere you want in the UK – from a straight shot to London Waterloo, to the city of Southampton, where you can hop on other trains going northbound to places such as Bath, Cardiff, and Manchester. For a longer ride and cheaper price, the Bournemouth Coach Station is just across the street from the train station – and not only can a coach bus take you to as far as Edinburgh or Amsterdam, but also straight to any terminal at the London airports. Travelling here in the UK is such a simple task in comparison to travelling in the U.S.A.

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Of course, opportunities to explore other cities in Europe should be snatched. However, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and forget about the beauty just outside your bedroom window. I find myself preferring Bournemouth on the weekends – to walk along the beach and the pier, sometimes with company, sometimes without. To enjoy a sweet scoop of honeycomb ice cream and a relaxing sit in the gardens with my sketchbook. And, of course, sometimes my wanderlust prompts me to catch the next train or coach to London. Living here, I’ve discovered many things about myself – and the way I like to travel and see new places and old places is one of those things.

By Cecily Paldino, MSc Forensic Anthropology