5 International Destinations for a PhD Style Spring Break


Traveling is one of my favorite things. There’s just something about jet setting off into the sunset to then wake up in a completely different time zone with people speaking a completely different language than you’re used to. I dream about different places to travel to and save some of my favorites to my Pinterest boards for future reference, many of them become recurring themes. Here are my most desired destinations. 

Kris Williams_Eyrarbakki Aurora Panorama

Reykjavik, Iceland - Northern Lights

I absolutely love staring at the stars. Iceland is known for its spectacular showcases of the Northern Lights, often occurring during the summer months and is better seen in the winter. I’ve watched so many Vimeo videos showing the northern lights (they also occur in the northern most parts of Scotland!!) that I am hoping to plan a trip that way in the winter break of school.

Why I'd go for my PhD-Style Spring Break: One of the best things about this city is that it's kind of a weather nightmare: cold, windy, abundant rain.  But those conditions make for really great nighttime light watching, and they also make for a great reading environment.  


Seattle, Washington, USA - Mountains and Ocean

I’ve only ever flown over the Emerald City on my way to Canada as a kid, and always wondered what it would be like to officially step foot there. Additionally, I’ve always been in awe of the architectural wonder I call the “big flying saucer”. Bonus: Mountains AND Ocean. Tons of entrepreneurial opportunities

Why I'd go for my PhD-Style Spring Break: Can you smell the coffee? Seattle is known as one of THE coffeehouse cities in the world. So, finding a place to chill out, sip on a cuppa, and write for hours sounds pretty perfect to me.

Tulips in Flevoland

Dorset, England, UK – Round the world and home again, that's the sailor's way!

Or any British coast.  I have a deep affinity for water and love the sound of the waves hitting the shore.  Dorset has a really beautiful coastline along the Jurassic Coast, an easy way of life, and lots of access to nature in general! 

Why I'd go for my PhD-Style Spring Break:  Obviously, there's a running a theme happening: I want to relax, chill-out, and have an otherwise easy experience.  So, going a coastal town and sitting near the water, while reading... that's all there is.  If I have it my way, too, I'll probably retire to one of these coastal cities.


Dublin, Ireland - Family Connections & History

My step-dad had Irish ancestry and was a history buff, so I (faintly) remember stories about his ancestors. Dublin to me always seemed like a really lively place to visit. A place with welcoming people, easy to get around, and is full of little nooks and crannies to explore. The Republic of Ireland is also a place with such a rich history. So I'd want to learn the stories behind the people of Ireland. 

Why I'd go for my PhD-Style Spring Break:  Story-listening. I'd go just to hear the stories of the people and think about ways to incorporate them into my research as well. I'd also go because Dublin is the kind of city that would get me away from my research. It's always good to leave it on the desk for a pint or two.


Glasgow, Scotland - A PhD Staycation

Glasgow feels like home, and there's something about being able to explore the intricacies of "home". It also has many interesting little gems to marvel at and explore, such as: Glasgow Necropolis; the Glasgow Film Theater; the plethora of thrift (charity) shops around the West End, or one of the art galleries.

Why I'd [stay] for my PhD-Style Spring Break:  There are a lot of places I haven't been to, both personally and for my research.  Spring break would be the perfect time to get away from the desk and get out to those things that might not directly influence my work, but that will generate plenty of ideas.

What are some places you would go to for your PhD spring break? Share them in the comments!