It’s definitely hard to pick just one, but as a general rule, my favorite experiences occurred when I stopped following a schedule and guidebook and took the road less travelled. During my own study abroad trip, I took a trip to Paris and decided to stop into the tiniest jewelry store I’ve ever seen. The shop was probably about 7’x7’ and every inch of the ceiling, walls, windows, and shelves were filled with very unique handmade pieces.
I started talking with the shop owner about his business and it wasn’t until I left the shop 20 minutes later that I realized I had had the entire conversation in French without even realizing it! After years of studying the French language, I had finally reached a point where I could speak the language without having to concentrate too hard, which was unbelievably exhilarating. It also added a layer of comfort when I travel now that I didn’t fully have to rely on finding an English-speaker to help me understand everything.