Going to a university is challenging enough in itself, let alone being in a foreign country! Coming to London was extremely scary because I knew that I didn’t know anyone coming on the trip. The biggest challenge that I faced was finding a friend group to do all of my travelling with. It’s not always easy to make friends, and the stress is definitely applied when you know that you have a limited amount of time to find this certain group before people start booking trips and spring break. The worst possible thing while abroad would be being excluded from groups or just not finding friends in general. Socializing is important for us as humans, and I think that I would very possibly go insane without friends here. The downside to having a group of friends is that there are a massive amount of opinions, and everyone might not get to go where they want to go while abroad.
Something I’m still struggling with is doing things by myself and not feeling anxious about being alone. I like being alone sometimes, but I really just don’t enjoy doing things by myself, which is such an inconvenience for me here. Everyone isn’t always available when I’m available, and I’m trying to learn to do things if I want to do them even if no one is available to come with me. I’m not sure if this is something I can learn and practice, or if this is just how I will be for the rest of my life. I just don’t want to let it get in the way of me seeing the interesting sights that I want to go see. I’ve put myself outside of my comfort zone this much already, so I might as well go all out!
Some advice for future students going abroad is to try to talk to everyone you can when you first get here. Talk to the person next to you at orientation, talk to someone in each of your classes, and even talk to people in your building. It’s very possible that you will like your roommates if they’re random, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re obligated to spend your time with them and force a friendship. Sometimes you just don’t click with people and you’re very different, and you just have to accept it and move on. If people you’re hanging out with are excluding you and not talking to you that much, find a different group to do things with. Find people that make you laugh until your stomach hurts. Find people that accept you for you and enjoy your company always. These are the people you can form lifelong bonds with.
Happy St. Patty’s Day!