Making Friends When You Travel Abroad

I Left For Germany Alone And Returned With The Best Friends A Girl Could Have

Oh the places you'll go... Oh the people you will meet...

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College is known to be a time to grow and be independent. Learning how to live on your own and balance school as well as other responsibilities such as a job or meetings can be tough. These are the most important and, of course, the best years of anyone's life.

When I started school, I really had no idea what "studying abroad" was. Yes, I understood you live in a foreign country for a semester or year but why? What makes that so enticing?

People give a lot of shit to those returning from abroad when they talk about their experience. Typically results in mocking or memes that are truly funny. I always told myself I am not going to be that person that comes back with "when I was abroad" stories. Alright, I lied.

This semester almost my entire immediate friend group was abroad. A few went to Florence, Italy, one in Salzburg, Austria, one is in Chile FOR A YEAR, one in Dallas interning for a semester, a few in Paris, and one stayed in Columbia, SC teaching the cutest nuggets every day. I was in Berlin, Germany.

This past fall my friends and I were running around getting forms signed, classes approved, choosing programs and countries, and trying to avoid the fact that we won't see each other for at least four months.

This was a huge step for all of us. Personally, I had never been to Europe. I have traveled alone but to places with which I am familiar with. I was terrified of coming abroad.

I am the type of person that needs support in every single way. After abroad, I can officially add BACK SUPPORT to that list (s/o Joey Arnold.) I'm only (kinda) kidding, but seriously this was a huge step for me.

I wanted to be different and go to a country and city in which not many people study. My dad is half German and my parents lived in Germany when my dad was stationed abroad during his time in the Army. I thought it would be cool to learn about the ¼ of me and to learn and live in German culture.

I took a leap of faith and came abroad alone. Yes, I have friends in other countries but COUNTRIES AWAY. I was so scared I would not make friends or have a good time. Well, I think I've made some of the best friends after four months.

I met a group of people that helped me in so many ways I can't even explain. From my program provider, AIFS, to my university abroad, Freie Universität, these people became like family.

At times the moods were testy as we spent almost every day together throughout this time, but mainly love and support all around. I met people that I may not have met on campus at USC since its such a big school. I don't think our paths would have ever crossed. Everyone I met came from a different school and has a different personality and interests.

These people helped me grow and become so much more independent than I was before. I sobbed everywhere in Berlin last night, the S-Bahn, the club, at the farewell dinner, on the streets, it was a mess. I did not think I would be as emotional as I was because I was excited to go home and see my family, but that was just stupid to think.

I am going to miss taking the S1 to Rathaus Steglitz and X-83 to school every day. I am going to miss my friends seeing me die on a treadmill at the gym that swindled us out of our money at the end. I am going to miss cheap alcohol (s/o 5 euro Wodka.) The inside jokes we have are endless, and I cannot express how sad I am that I cannot turn to my roommate and make one and laugh for years about it.

These people picked me up when I was DOWN DOWN. They dealt with the sides of me I hate when they stared at me for a hot sec saying "what is happening what do I do." I will forever cherish the memories of the cities and countries we visited, the hangouts in my apartment, the clubs and bars we went to, Stammtisch especially, and will cherish the moment we're together again.

I miss my dumb homies already. Thank you for an amazing semester it could not have been better.

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To My Best Friend Who Taught Me What True Friendship Is, I Can't Thank You Enough

"To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding."
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Dear Best Friend,

You have been a part of my life for quite some time now. You have seen my good, bad, and ugly sides and have stuck by my side through it all. I don't know if I could ever find the words to truly thank you for everything your friendship has given me, but I am definitely going to try.

Our lives have taken some twist and turn these past few years, but we have stayed strong through it all.

Thank you for judging me just the right amount.

Throughout our friendship, I have made some very questionable decisions. A lot of people would say "thanks for never judging me," but I feel like everyone needs a best friend who's going to tell them how it is, to tell them when they are about to make a bad decision or how to avoid something worse from happening. You have always told me how it is (even when I don't always want to hear it), but I know that I can come to you whenever I need someone to set me straight.

You're always down to do nothing with me.

I think that you are the one person that I can call up to hang out and do absolutely nothing with and have a good time. From the nights sitting in and playing card games to ordering Chinese food and watching an entire Netflix series while I dance around with the cat: I know that we could do anything, and nothing together and it would be fun.

But also, you're always down to get lit with me.

I swear one day we will be two old moms at a bar drinking vodka crans and laughing about the stupid shit our husbands and children do. You're always down to go out and have a good time. Even if everyone else we're with is miserable, we find a way to laugh at ourselves.

You are one of the few constant things in my life.

I've lost a lot of friends in my life, but you have stayed by my side through everything. I can't remember the last time we actually fought about anything, but even when we do we can't stay mad at each other for more than a day. I know we will be in each other's lives until we literally keel over.

I want you yo know that you're the strongest person I know.

You've dealt with things that not many people go through ever in their life. You have always been so mature, and you handle everything with grace. You inspire me every day with your goals and successes and I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

Above all else, you deserve the world.

It's so easy to get caught up in your own mind and think that you deserve the things that happen to you, but please know that the only thing you deserve is happiness. Please settle for nothing short of that. It may take a bit to find your happiness, but I will be there every step of the way. You're a remarkable human being, and I want nothing but the best for you.

To the person who will hold your heart someday, please do not break it. To the person who may wrong you, you will regret it forever. To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding.

You, my best friend, future bridesmaid, godmother of my children, the person to bail me out of jail, the one who lets me cry on their couch for twelve hours,

I love you.

I will cherish our friendship forever. Thank you for being you.

Love always,

Your best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Adriana Ranieri

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18 Things You Know To Be True If You Are A Dancer

#Dancerproblems.

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It's the night before my first dance competition of the season, so of course I'm going to write about dance. Without further ado here are 26 of the most common things you know if like me, you are a dancer.

1. You are constantly choreographing dances in your head.

It doesn't matter what song you are jamming out to, without fail, you find yourself choreographing dances, even at 2:00 AM.

2. You always find a way to practice your solos or dances for competition.

Even if you have a small space to work with, NOTHING, and I mean absolutely nothing will stop you from practicing.

3. You are constantly trying to better your technique.

All day, every day, it doesn't matter if you're working on turn combinations or bettering your tap technique, not a day goes by that you don't work on it.

4. You have a "dance drawer" in your dresser.

Leotards, tights, and booty shorts, oh my!

5. The studio is like your second home and your team is like your second family.

There's really no explanation needed.

6. You feel like you never get enough time in the studio.

Because there's no such thing as "too much dance"

7. Your weekends always consist of a dance private

Literally almost every weekend

8. You're not embarrassed about going out in public while wearing dance clothes.

And you don't care if people look at you funny for wearing your leotard and company jacket to a restaurant.

9. Your company jacket is your jacket of choice.

You've gotta represent your studio, plus it's sooo comfortable.

10. Forget the holidays, competition season is the most wonderful time of the year.

I love competition season so much!

11. You're always losing bobby pins.

Gotta love those sock buns that take you literally 15 minutes to do, and the ridiculous amount of bobby pins that you use just so your bun can stay in tact.

12. You have regular earrings and then you have dance competition earrings.

Those big sparkly earrings are always fun to wear.

13. Your Instagram explore page is full of videos of other dancers.

What can I say, I just love dance.

14. The phrase "I can't, I have dance" is one you say all the time

I apologize to all of my friends and family who I try to make plans with but can't follow through because of dance privates.

15. The same goes for "5, 6, 7, 8"

I am so guilty of this one.

16. People ask you if what you do is like what they watch on "Dance Moms"

And you reply with "Sort of, but not exactly"

17. Sometimes you just randomly strike a dance pose.

For me, it has always been , and always will be an arabesque.

18. Your mom is the best dance mom ever, and you dad is the best dance dad ever.

They honestly are, I couldn't do any of this without my wonderful parents and am so thankful that they continue to support me in doing something that I absolutely love.

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