Students Abroad: Le Stop

In the U.S., it's called hitchhiking, and although many a student with a sign (GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST ALBUQUERQUE PLEASE) can still be seen, express ways and police are driving the custom out of style. But in Europe, the autostop, as hitchhiking is known in internationalese, is a thriving student institution. In universities across the Continent, and on many U.S. campuses too, college kids are about to dust off knapsacks and take to the open Autobahnen, routes nationales, carreteras and autostrade.

West Germany is a favorite for practitioners of the autostop. At border...