With the end of the semester comes all the benefits of break – no more classes, endless Netflix marathons and a constant intake of Mom’s cooking.
But with the three week vacay we all know and love, comes a truth that’s been avoided: a new round of study abroad trips.
Whether it’s you taking a leap of faith in Italy or your best friend shipping off to Spain, the harsh reality is that studying abroad can take a possible toll on your friendship. But have no fear, studying abroad does not mean you need to put your relationships on hold. Follow these tips to make it through the semester without leaving the Blair to your Serena behind:
Don’t be lazy, keep in touch
It’s virtually impossible to completely lose contact with someone these days. Combine Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Wifi, and you’d be hard pressed not to have some way to get ahold of a person. Making room for a Skype date once in a while can make all the difference. Even if it’s only every couple of weeks, that time to catch up and dish out what the other has missed goes a long way.
Help out with homesickness
A new culture, new home and new country can, and will, be overwhelming. For those days when missing home becomes too much too handle, take the initiative to make the big, bad world your BFF is living in seem a little smaller.
“Sending [your friends] care packages with a bunch of their favorite stuff from home is a great way to make them more comfortable in a new city,” said junior advertising major Savannah Evans. “It’s a really tough transition, but making the effort will make the semester fly by in no time.”
Perhaps a Penn State tee and a Dunkin’ mug? Who wouldn’t be game for that?
Take it with a grain of salt
For those going abroad, the key is to not stress over the distance. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Missing loved ones is difficult, but don’t let it rain on your now foreign-educated and super cultured parade.
“Being abroad, you’re going to have the time of your life, so you won’t even feel the need to be constantly talking to your friends from home,” said senior international politics major Sarah Martinez. “The more you talk to them, the more you’ll be homesick – keep in touch enough, but don’t obsess over it. It will affect your experience.”
Moral of the story: studying abroad might literally put an ocean between you and your bestie, but nothing can rip apart the lifelong, unbreakable bond that is best-friendship. (Too much? Probably not – this is basically Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.) So travel on without fear, Penn Staters. Your friends will be here when you get back.