Ahh, spring semester is here. Oh yeah, I did notice my campus feeling emptier than usual and my Instagram feed HAS in fact been flooded with new pictures every single day and every single hour of the day. So many students are on study abroad.
Study abroad is a great experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are so many new things to see, try, and learn. I myself currently am studying abroad in Granada, Spain. However, despite the number of distractions that are occurring like focusing on classes, getting acclimated to a new culture, practicing the language, and spending time having fun and exploring, there are other responsibilities from back home that still need attention and focus. One of the most important ones being relationships.
Having a boyfriend or girlfriend is great, right? Especially when you go to the same college and have spent semesters being able to freely see each other every day and hang out. So, after this being the case, study abroad still sounded fun of course, but there were worries. How can one possibly keep up a relationship and be thousands of miles away at the same time?
I know a lot of people are currently going through this- in my own personal study abroad group almost half are dealing with the same thing. You are not alone! It is extremely common, and many couples must deal with it at one point or another for a period of time during the duration of their relationship. Don’t stress- if you both care and are dedicated to the cause you will make it work easily.
Here are some tips and tricks I have developed over my short time being overseas so far:
1. Make a schedule!
Figuring out and working with the time zone difference, lay out a day and time in which you know you will both be free, and you can set up a Facetime or Whatsapp (video) call. Texting is great but it is also important to hear the other person’s voice once in a while. It tends to bring more positive feelings and motivation to get through doing long distance!
2. Find games or activities to do online.
For me, things like Netflix Watch Party have been super useful- you can binge watch a show while being able to chat about it and see each other at the same time. It’s almost like the other person is right there! Or, have games or apps that you can complete throughout the day. Let’s bring back Trivia Crack and Words with Friends! You can play your partner throughout the day. I also highly recommend the app “Agape”, in which you get a daily deep, thoughtful question you can type out an answer to and then see what your partner says in return. It’s a great way to learn even more about them and keep learning about them even if you are currently far away.
3. Motivate each other!
Kind words do a lot. If you partner is feeling weary- try to talk it out and/or reassure them! Make and keep a countdown of the number of days there are until you see the other person again.
4. Communication is key.
Do not let anger, stress, or fears build up. The unhealthiest thing is to let them bottle up- it can cause unnecessary arguments and can lead to future anger and resentment. Talk things out immediately as they start bothering you and tackle problems at the head in order to keep healthy communication.
I wish you all the best of luck in your relationship endeavors and enjoy your study abroad experience for those of you overseas!