There are many aspects of college life that get mixed reviews depending on who you talk to. Some people have problems with the hookup culture, some might despise dorm life, and others might yearn for the days of high school curriculum. And some might disagree with all of the above. But one of the most constant aspects of college life is the inevitable and constant change. Semester to semester, month to month, and even day to day can be utterly and completely different for college students. Classes change, friend groups change, your surroundings change, you’re constantly transitioning between life at home to life at school and vice versa, it can all result in a flurry of emotional stress.
One of the major changes students go through is studying abroad. There’s a lot to be said about how to prepare yourself for living in another country, but one main concern is the what’s going to happen with the friends you leave behind. You’re going to meet new people, and they will too, but it’s not impossible to maintain close relationships even across oceans. A semester isn’t as long as you think, and while it might take a little extra effort, there’s so many ways to stay close with friends regardless of whether or not they’re on a different continent.
Start a snapchat streak! And keep it.
Yes, they can be annoying. But having something keep you accountable for checking in with your friends everyday can be super helpful. With that line of communication already open, all it takes is a “how was your day?” chat to start a conversation you may have otherwise not had the opportunity to have. It’s also a great way to give your friends the inside scoop on your life: who you’re with everyday, where you’re going, and what you’re seeing.
Write each other letters.
If the ease of all our newfangled technology isn’t enough, try the old-fashioned way of keeping in touch. There truly is no better joy than getting a piece of mail, am I right? Writing each other letters can me much more meaningful than sending a quick text sometimes because you’re really made to sit down and think about what you want to say. It can be silly, or whiny, or meaningful and you can include sentimental keepsakes too. A leaf, a ticket stub- having something tangible from someone so far away can mean a lot.
Set a recurring time to talk on the phone or facetime.
Pick a time that works for both of you, whether weekly or monthly, to talk on the phone or on facetime. It’s kind of like planning to hang out, except virtually. It can be for ten minutes or an hour or just a quick hello. Even if you’re simply sitting on facetime while you’re both doing homework, just being in each other’s presence can mean a lot. And make sure you don’t forget. Put in that extra effort to write it in your planner or put it as a recurring event on your Google calendar. Whatever it takes, you’ll both be glad you made the time.
When in doubt, remember: true friends never feel far away.
Some of these suggestions may seem reasonable or they may seem extremely unattainable, depending on the person and the friendship. Really, the best way to stay close with friends while you’re far from each other is to be mature about the situation and confident in the relationship. True friendships can stand the test of just about anything: time, distance, or life. Just remember that your friends are truly never far away if you need them, and be sure that they know the same is true of your friendship to them. And just think, when you do finally see each other again, you’ll get to have the most epic catch up session ever.
Have more tips on staying in touch with friends while you study abroad? Comment below!