Although my abroad romance didn’t last much longer than my abroad experience did, I can say it taught me more than any of the classes I took along the way.
When you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, it’s perfectly natural to seek companionship as you look to explore it. And whether that’s in the form of a platonic friend -- or, potentially, your future wife -- you’ll inevitably begin to form new relationships during your time abroad.
If you’re lucky enough to connect with someone on a more intimate level, you’ll be able to take away a lot of things from your time spent with him or her -- lessons you’ll use as a reference long after your relationship with that person may have already ended.
Ultimately, relationships (of any type) encourage learning -- whether that pertains to some aspect of life, love or simply yourself. Relationships aren’t supposed to be perfect, and they aren’t all meant to last forever -- however, if you can consistently walk away from them with a better understanding of the world, you’ll never be wasting your time.
So, although my abroad romance didn’t continue to the wedding chapel, it’s not a failure because it didn’t. The lessons I learned and memories I made, I still carry with me -- and apply to my life -- on a daily basis.
Here are just a few.
You'll learn not all good things need to last forever.
A lot of people search for someone they can spend the rest of their life with. They’ll spend so much time and energy seeking out some aspect of forever in another person that they’ll lose sight of enjoying the present.
When you meet someone abroad, you’ll soon realize finding someone who you can enjoy your time with in the short term can be equally as gratifying as finding someone for the long term -- granted, in a different sense.
Whether you spend six quality months with someone or a lifetime of monotony, the true test of a relationship shouldn’t focus on how much time you spend with that person, but how you choose to spend it.
If you’re lucky enough to find an abroad romance, it might very well be short-lived -- and that’s fine. The places you’ll go and things you’ll see in the time you spend together will amount to more than other couples experience over the course of many years.
You'll learn exploring is best done with someone you love.
Nothing quite compares to exploring a new place with someone you have feelings for. Things taste better. Sights are prettier. Moments are more meaningful.
While new experiences should always be welcomed -- whether you’re alone or not -- they’re even more gratifying when you can share them with someone else.
Abroad romances are just different from other types of relationships. With regular relationships, you’ll spend a lot of energy just to ensure you and your significant other don’t have many dull moments.
That said, when you’re in a foreign place with another person, dull moments won’t ever be a concern. And that’s the beauty of abroad romances; they force you to learn about each other, outside of your own respective comfort zones.
A lot of the same things you wouldn’t notice about another person until, say, months into knowing this person -- you can learn within days of travelling with him or her.
You'll learn the true definition of companionship.
You won’t understand the true nature of companionship until you’re in a foreign place alongside someone who’s equally as foreign to it as you are.
It’s not uncommon for you to feel slightly estranged while travelling -- especially when you’re in a place where you don’t speak the native language or can’t make heads or tails of the local map.
When you’ve got someone next to you who you can hold hands with, however, it’s hard to feel all that alone, regardless of how much of an outsider you might actually be.
Relationships are supposed to be grounded on the main premise of companionship. Aside from the whole aspect of romantic attraction, your significant other should also be your best friend -- and when you spend time exploring aspects of the world, and yourself, with another person, you’ll form a bond that supersedes just lust.
You'll learn memories have no time limit.
Many of my friends will gauge how successful a relationship was by how long it lasted. If it lasted all of, I don’t know, three months, they’ll call it a failure. If it lasted three years -- only to blow up in their face -- they’ll call it a waste.
Well, regardless of how long you might’ve lasted with the person who you had your abroad romance with, after your time abroad, it’s impossible to define these types of relationships by any amount of time.
Regardless of how many weeks, months, years you might’ve spent with that person, the memories you created and shared with them will last forever. Abroad relationships will show you how to appreciate things for what they were and not how they may have ended.
When you look back on your time spent abroad, you should also remember the person who you spent that time with and be grateful you were able to appreciate and share a lot of those memories with someone you cared about.
And long after you might’ve stopped having feelings for that person, at least the way you once did, you should always be able to smile when you think about him or her -- because that person is emblematic of such a marvelous time in your life.