A summer playlist for studying abroad (or at least feeling like you are)

Ameena Golding/Staff

At long last, it’s summertime, and even if you’re just staying in Berkeley, it feels like a whole nother world here — many students have cleared out, campus is calmer, and professors are more relaxed. In contrast, some students are heading to other parts of the globe for the summer to study abroad and to immerse themselves in new cultural experiences. In either case, we’ve decided to compile you a playlist to capture the unique feeling of a summer getaway, whether or not you’re actually getting away.

“Norway” — Beach House

The dreamy sounds of Beach House have been prominent in the indie music scene for the past decade. One of the standout tracks from the band’s magnum opus Teen Dream is centered around being young and having many roads to travel yet, while still being in the middle of a major voyage. It’s ideal for those spending the summer in Europe.

“A New Career in a New Town” — David Bowie

One of the most prolific artists in music history, David Bowie sought out a variety of sounds in his career. This instrumental off of his standout late-’70s album Low encapsulates both the excitement and nervousness that come when you enter a new environment, and it is the perfect song for a fresh start.

“I’m Writing a Novel” — Father John Misty

In my personal study abroad experience, our professor’s “final exam” for us was to write journal entries regularly and stick various mementos in the journal as well. Not only was this actually enjoyable and therapeutic, but it was a good way to collect memories of a great experience. So go on and write a novel just for your sake — your older self will thank you for it.

“People Everywhere (Still Alive)” — Khruangbin 

Regardless of what country you’re in, the world is a crazy place at the moment. But in spite of this, people everywhere are indeed still alive. This funky track is the perfect listen for a breezy summer’s day, whether you’re out roaming the city or just winding back and relaxing. 

“Powerman” — The Kinks

It’s very fitting that Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited,” a film about three brothers who travel to India together in attempt to reconnect, ends with this song. The cool and slick guitar riffs, combined with the concept of staying cool when the rest of the world is going crazy, make this a timeless summer classic.

“Salad Days” — Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco’s specialty is making breezy, chilled-out tracks that are designed to fuel summer hangouts. The title track from his album Salad Days is a mellow mediation on the feeling of being young and having many experiences, both good and bad, ahead of you on the journey of life.

“Couleur Café” — Serge Gainsbourg

Bonus points if you’re listening to this while you’re in France. One of the iconic French singer’s biggest songs, this is a picturesque tune for sitting at a table right outside your town’s nicest café, having a cappuccino and eating a croissant on a sunny morning just before making your walk through the city on the way to class.

“Panama” — Sports

When we are studying abroad — or anywhere that’s away from home — we naturally start to miss the people we used to see more often. The song’s chorus asks the question, “What’s it like in Panama?” expressing that even when we’re living our best lives, separation is a bummer. Fortunately, the song’s groovy ’70s vibe makes this easy to listen to regardless of your mood.

“Meet Me in Mexico” — The Drums

Not unlike DeMarco, the Drums have a knack for making songs designed for breezy summer days spent out and about. This track’s quick and groovy tempo about spontaneously getting away from the typical burdens of life should be a good soundtrack for many others looking to do the same.

Happy summer, Bears, no matter where you are on the planet!

Contact Doug Smith at [email protected].