One of the main drawbacks (and there really aren’t many) of taking a year abroad is being separated from your classmates for the year. At university, these are the people who you’ll see pretty much every day, you’ll ride the highs and lows of your course together, moan about classes and celebrate (or commiserate) your grades. Some you’ll inevitably be glad to see the back of for a few months, but others will have become a very important part of your life. It’s only natural to miss these people when you’re all abroad and off on your separate adventures. I thought, this week, I would give you an insight into a few of the ways that I’ve overcome this challenge this year!
- Make an effort to stay in touch.
It’s all too easy to let aspects of your social life slide when you’re already juggling the demands of university and the thrill of living in a foreign country. Before you realise, long weeks have passed since you last spoke to your friends. We’ve all been guilty of that! So, it’s important to make an effort to stay in touch, even if that’s just by sending out a group message every once in a while, so you can all catch up on each other’s news. With the technology that we have at hand these days, there really is no excuse for not contacting the people you miss. So send check in with your friends and maybe even set aside an evening for a group skype call!
- Find a halfway point
Sometimes talking online just won’t cut it and the need to see people in the flesh becomes overwhelming. While this may be slightly more difficult than just nipping around to someone’s house as you would at university, it’s definitely possible and more than worth the effort. This weekend, I will be meeting one of my friends in San Sebastian (more on that next week), the mid-point between her university placement in Zaragoza and my own in Pau. Not only do we get a weekend of company, San Sebastian is a city which neither of us have previously visited so we get to share a small adventure as well, all for the price of a 10€ bus ticket.
- Make the most of holidays
If meeting while abroad is truly impossible (it would take me a full two days of travelling to meet up with some of my friends), there are still the holidays, which most people will seize as an opportunity to return home and enjoy a bit of familiarity after those long months abroad. Christmas, Easter and the summer holidays then are a great chance to meet up with those friends who you haven’t seen for too long! Organise a day trip, a weekend crashing with a friend or even a couple of hours for lunch or dinner. It might be tempting to spend the entire holiday at home, recovering from the term, but this truly is the best opportunity to catch up while everyone is in the same country.
So, there you have it, a few tips on how to cope with being separated from your friends for those of you who will be undertaking a year abroad at some point in the next few years! If you have any questions or anything that you would like to add in relation to this theme, just leave me a comment below!