Studying abroad was one of the most challenging yet rewarding moments of my college experience. Traveling solo for almost half a year taught me to depend on myself (and boy was that scary!), but I know that the friendships I made will last a lifetime.
It doesn’t matter where you studied, where you came from, or where you’re going in the future; the only people who truly understand you are the ones who experienced everything with you. Here are 12 of them:
1. Mom or Dad
Often found with extra tissue, hand sanitizer, snacks, and emergency zip-lock bags. Acts as a shoulder to cry on when school gets tough, and is the first to provide medicine and chicken soup when you get sick. MUST be on speed dial by now. Also known as: your RA (Residential Assistant).
2. The Scholar
The person who puts "study" in "studying abroad." In the library 24/7, he/she does not have time to "hang out" on a Friday night. Always present (and on time) for Monday classes, even after a long weekend. Probably the only person to leave the program with a 4.0 GPA.
3. The Homesick One
They spend most of their time on Skype with their family, or complaining about missing home-cooked food and using 3G data without roaming charges. Netflix is also their only friend.
4. Dora the Explorer
This person loves studying abroad, period. Up for anything, he/she will travel every weekend, is the first to try local cuisine, and is the last person to go to bed on a Friday night. "Dora" has only two modes: asleep, and go, go, go! Also known as: backpackers.
5. The Freeloader
There is always that one person in the barkada who conveniently forgets his or her wallet during group outings. Yes, we know that travel is expensive. But it doesn't help when your travel buddy keeps asking for handouts ("can I have that last piece of pizza?" Um, how about NO?!). If a person only hangs out with you to to get things from you, then he/she is not a true friend.
6. The Party Animal
The Scholar's wild counterpart. Can often be found taking shots at the local bar rather than attending class. Is friends with all the bartenders within a 3 km radius of your university. Will never be awake before 9 a.m., but is the expert on the best deals at clubs (free drinks for women on Wednesdays? Tara na!). Just don't expect them to be great roommates; your bathroom will never be the same.
7. The Couple (or The Romantic)
If your friend is always with her significant other, you'll be forced to listen to them chatting on the phone for hours, wishing that one of them would hang up already. If you want a wingwoman (or a wingman!) then look elsewhere—this couple won't see the point in going out with that cute group of guys you met on the beach.
8. The Drama Queen
Easiest to spot because you can sense a bitch fit a mile away. They’re the ones who cause a scene when someone cuts them in line. The ones who cry and threaten to call their parents if their teacher gives them a B grade for the latest test. Are they just high-maintenance, or do they truly live for the drama? It's up to you to decide.
9. The Social Media Star
You never see them without their cellphone or camera. Want to know the hip new local restaurant to try? There's an app for that. Excited to dig into a scrumptious dish? Gotta wait for them to Instagram it first! Searching for the best hostel in the city? They have a blog post all about it.
Selfies in front of Big Ben. Selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower. Selfie on a gondola in Venice. If this person starts planning his/her itineraries around selfie options, you know they've got a problem.
10. The Patriot
You would be hard-pressed to forget where this person comes from. Can most often be seen wearing outfits displaying their country flag or national colors. Constantly compares local cuisine, literature, and art, and anything they can think of to products from their own country...and finds the foreign items inferior. Don't be that kind of tourist. Also known as: the obnoxious American.
11. The Local Lover
The complete opposite of "The Patriot". This person believes that they grew up ~*insert other nationality*~ in another life. They tend to be a natural with languages, and probably met their significant other abroad. Don't expect to see them in Starbucks—it's locally-made coffee or bust. They've probably also sub-consciously (or consciously) adopted the local accent.
12. The Instant Best Friend
Studying abroad can be terrifying AF. Spending all of your time in a foreign country with strangers, especially if you don't know the language, is definitely a struggle. But sometimes you meet someone and you just ~*click*~ on a deeper level, ya know?
After the program ends, you'll realize that you've been lucky enough to be at the same place at the same time with a new best friend. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Because in the end, these are the people who will make your entire study abroad experience worth it.
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