It goes without saying that there is an enormous difference between being two doors down from someone and 2,000 miles apart. As junior and senior year of college approach, destinations like Italy and France begin whispering into the ears of undergrads, luring them into the idea of studying abroad.
Going abroad for the semester is full of new sights, new sweets and new stories to tell, but the abroad experience does not have everyone’s name on it. Some apply for the passport while others just pass all together on the international experience.
But what happens when our friends go abroad without us?
How do we possibly survive when our closest pals board those planes and we are back in the states being red, white and totally blue?
Let’s put those old words into practice and let the distance make our hearts (and friendships) grow stronger through these simple ways to survive the semester apart.
My best friend Skype: We thought Jefferson was pretty clever with the light bulb, but this innovation blows electricity away. A free service that allows people to communicate through web cam, this handy messenger has changed the face of long distance relationships and is easy to use as well. Grab a cup of coffee and make a date with your friend abroad to catch up face to face.
Traveling pants and other random belongings: Sewing the gap between countries can be so much easier when you form a common thread; a journal that you pass between friends, a shirt that gets mailed from person to person… all of these things can be mailed back and forth to one another in order to keep in touch with something tangible. Currently, my best friend and I purposely leave juicy stories out of our emails and write them in a journal that we mail back and forth to each other. It makes for something exciting to look forward to in the mail.
Growing closer by growing apart: I took for granted the fact that I could call my best friend at a second’s notice to meet up and talk on campus. Now that she is gone I realize the amount of time that I have on my hands, no longer filled with coffee dates and shopping excursions. Instead of wallowing over the open gaps in the planner, fill those slots with new and exciting things you have always wanted to do. Go out and do things that will make those emails to your abroad buddies even more interesting. Salsa dancing, blogging, pottery painting, meeting new people – the possibilities are endless.
They are off seeing the world, not stopping ours: Seeing your friends off to the airport can be brutal, but as they go off to find some new adventures it is important to carry on and find our own adventures. Don’t stay stationed at that computer waiting for the Skype call or constantly refreshing your inbox to see if a new email awaits. Get out there and enjoy that semester! You’re on a college campus, not in jail! No matter where you are, be it twenty thousand miles away or in the same place you have been for three years, each day holds an immense amount of potential for great things to happen.
It is no shocker, the distance is tough. Some days will hit harder than ever as you wish your friend was there to pick up the phone when you call or meet you to sort through a midterm break down. But let’s pick ourselves up, cheer our traveling friends on and seek our own adventures. With letters and emails and a little care package here and there, our friendships have the potential to go above and abroad.