7 Things Study Abroad Students Understand That'll Keep You Bonded Forever
Studying abroad might have been one of the best decisions you ever made. That semester that you spent in a foreign country is by far a favorite from your time in college, and you love sharing all your stories and pictures just so you can relive it all. From the minute the plane landed, you were ready to turn around and head back home. You fell in love with that foreign city and found yourself in all of the culture. Five months just wasn't enough — and you want to make more memories with your travel friends. There are some things study abroad students understand, like this feeling, that only they would truly get.
You miss following your wanderlust and living in another land. Traveling the world was a dream, especially with such amazing people by your side. And you've scrolled through your photo albums over and over — but it's just not quite the same. What you would give for one more weekend trip, or conversation with your coffee shop barista.
Truth is, if someone handed you a plane ticket back to that place, you'd probably take it and leave tomorrow. You might not even take the time to pack a suitcase if it meant you could see all those sights just a little bit sooner. You'd touch down and head straight to your favorite spots — the gelato shop, the restaurant with the unreal seafood pasta, and the square with the carousel in the corner. Studying abroad was the opportunity of a lifetime, and only your true travel buds will understand these seven things.
1. Calling Your City "Home"
Nobody quite understands the love you have for your city like your study abroad friends. To this day, I consider Florence to be more of my home than the town I grew up in. For my friends and family here, that sounds so incredibly crazy. But, when I mention it to anyone who spent that unreal semester with me, they know exactly what I mean.
You picked out this place. Growing up, you've kind of been stuck to wherever your family decided to settle. And you love your hometown for so many other reasons, but it's just not the same as the city you get to call your own.
Studying abroad is such an experience because you become a local in a foreign place. You find yourself when you're traveling, give everything to adventure, and for the first time, you let your wanderlust lead the way.
2. Taking Pictures Of Your Plate
Every picture you took while abroad was worth a thousand words and memories, and also flavors. No matter where you wandered, you always managed to take a picture of your plate before having a taste. (Talk about will power — it's hard to press pause on some of those Italian pasta dishes.)
When you're so surrounded by culture, you want to soak it all in, but also snap something for social media that way you can remember it forever. These recipes are unmatched, and every dish would get way more than five stars. If you could send a cup of your favorite gelato, or that Mediterranean sandwich you had in Spain, all the way back home... you so would.
3. Your Immense Love For The Language
The first thing you had to get used to when you landed in your foreign country was the language. Maybe you had been studying up a bit in the semesters leading up to this one, or picked up a guide so you wouldn't get totally lost in translation. Either way, you're clearly a fish out of water at first and found yourself going into it all a little blind.
There's a lot you have to adjust to when it comes to adventure. Soon enough, you picked up common phrases and started saying them on the reg with your study abroad friends. They're the only ones that'll understand when you come home the story behind saying, "Ciao ragazzi," or your love for another land's language.
4. The Struggle Of Packing
Studying abroad is a breeze once you hop on the plane, but learning how to pack the perfect suitcase wasn't easy. You left a lot of your favorite shoes behind in hopes of carrying a lighter load. Essentially, you had to make sure you had outfits for at least a few seasons and room for souvenirs on the way back. Sweaters, bathing suits, and leaving a little extra space were so needed.
Any trip you ever take from now on, you'll find yourself channeling your study abroad skills. Having to open everything up in middle of the airport and send stuff home with your family just to meet the weight limit is a moment nobody wants to relive.
Your friends from the semester know that packing for five months basically made you suitcase extraordinaries. And they understand that you really don't need too much to make unreal memories.
5. The Need To Be Spontaneous
You said, "yes" to almost every cool experience when you studied abroad. There's no better way to travel than to try everything you come across. When you first started the semester, you might have been a little shy to adventure, and even a little scared. Truth is, that was totally normal and something everybody else was feeling, but wouldn't admit just the same.
You booked weekend trips and restaurant reservations, and suddenly you were just about down to do anything. On your first day, you might have stuck to the simplest food you could find, but soon enough, you found yourself trying escargot and squid ink pasta. Not everyone knows how to be spontaneous, and sometimes you have to start small. But, your study abroad friends will truly understand that it's necessary when you travel.
6. The Best Things Are Off The Beaten Path
Living like a local meant that you wandered down side streets and avoided the tourist traps at all costs. Sure, you spent some days sightseeing and taking pictures of famous places. But, you also became a regular at a coffee shop you'd stop at for breakfast on the reg and learned that the best things are off the beaten path.
You and your study abroad friends would find the hole-in-the-wall restaurants with the tastiest pizza just from taking recommendations from the local people. During the semester, you knew places with a TripAdvisor sticker were tried and true, but also continuously dared to do something different. It's amazing what you can find when you follow your own two feet.
7. Your Unreal Wanderlust
When you studied abroad, you got into the habit of taking a trip every weekend. You'd leave as soon as you could get out of school, with a carry-on bag and a camera, to see another country or city. Coming home from abroad, this is one of the things you miss the most, and also something that continues to feel totally like a dream. (Did I actually make it to all those places?)
Especially in Europe, it's so easy to hop on a train and let your feet wander wherever they please. You spent Saturday afternoons sitting in coffee shops in Amsterdam, and Sunday mornings scoping out the crepe scene in Paris before hitting up an art museum.
Your study abroad friends will understand that from the minute you landed back in your home state, you were ready to go adventure again. Wanderlust is so real, and they're feeling it, too. Can we study abroad again this semester, please?!