Whether you’ve just come home from studying abroad for the summer or you’re anxiously waiting to get on the plane at the start of fall semester, there’s no doubt that studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. For a lot of students, it’s their first time traveling outside the U.S. Here are the five people you’ll meet when you study abroad:
1. The Party Animal
Of all the people that you’ll meet studying abroad, the Party Animal is probably the most common. Let’s face it, even though you’re still there for school, being in a foreign country can feel like an extended vacation. In the beginning, it’s fun hanging out with the Party Animal. The drinking age in most other countries is lower than it is here in the U.S., so you’ll want to go out a few nights a week at first, too. But after awhile the charm will wear off and you’ll get tired of holding their hair while they puke in the shared bathroom. You’ll also want to get down to the serious business of, you know, actually studying abroad. The Party Animal will continue having fun abroad, but studying has nothing to do with it.
2. The Penny Pincher
Studying abroad can be expensive, no doubt about that, but for the most part it’s well worth the money. The Penny Pincher disagrees. Almost every conversation with the Double P revolves around their finances: they thought groceries would be cheaper; bus fare for this weekend’s trip isn’t in their budget; they won’t be coming to dinner because they’re making pasta in the shared kitchen again. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a budget, but the Penny Pincher takes it to another level. They also somehow make you feel guilty for spending your own money when you study abroad. And if you ever do convince them to come out with you for dinner or drinks? Expect them to quibble over the bill when it comes.
3. Romeo and Juliet
Technically this is two people that you’ll meet while studying abroad, but with the way they’re attached at the hip, they count as one. Romeo and Juliet are star-crossed lovers who have finally found each other. From different schools, often different countries, studying abroad has brought them together. At first, you might think they’re cute together and whisper with your other friends about how much you ship them. But after a few weeks their lovey-dovey behavior will get old. As they re-enact the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp at dinner, you’ll gag into your lasagna but ultimately, you cut them a break. This time together is all they get, after all. After you return home to the U.S., Romeo and Juliet have to either break up or undergo the stress and heartache of the dreaded long-distance relationship.
Homesickness is perfectly natural when studying abroad, but it’s important not to let it ruin your trip. For Dorothy, though, “there’s no place like home.” Dorothy just can’t get out of her head and soak up the amazing cultural and educational experiences available when studying abroad. Sometimes she’s homesick for her family or maybe a significant other back Stateside. Sometimes she just has trouble adjusting to culture shock and really wants a grilled cheese sandwich. Whatever it is, Dorothy spends a lot of time Skyping home and missing out on the fun. You feel bad for her, but you’d rather not stay in and watch Netflix with her when there’s a whole city – hell, a whole country! – for you to explore. You’re bound to meet them when you study abroad.
5. The Soon-to-Be-Expat
The Soon-to-Be-Expat is the person who falls so in love with your host country that they consider just never going home. Soon-to-Be either already knows the language or is devoting all their time to learning it. They practice their new language skills on all the shop owners and waiters and like to pretend that they’re a local, too. Soon-to-Be also claims to know all the best “authentic” spots to grab a bite to eat or a drink, which is frustrating since you’ve both been living in the city for the same amount of time. You’ll find yourself torn between being annoyed at their pretentious behavior and inspired to extend your own student visa. Either way, make sure you stay in touch so when they’re living in Paris you’ll have an excuse to come visit.