If you take a good, hard look at your Instagram feed, you will probably see everyone you know who has recently graduated, or just feels like escaping, running around Europe living up their “best life” in places such as Spain, France and Italy. But what about those of us that lived there? The ones that are now stuck at home, living in the memories? We are now back living the everyday nonsense of waking up at noon, eating our way through our parent’s refrigerator and not stopping. We then start at our boring internship where we hope and continuously dream they will provide us with enough money to take us back to the place that gave us the biggest high we have ever experienced in our whole damn life. We call ourselves Study Abroad, and yes, I will never stop talking about it, and no, I will never be sorry.
First, let’s talk about why they call it “study” abroad, because the amount of studying that truly happens is so minimal everyone that has ever lived abroad long enough to know understands that their phone is full of texts with messages of “let’s hit up” *insert name of bar or club that correlates to that day of the week* and the other half is full of group messages with whoever you are traveling with to whatever country or continent because you got a deal on some sketchy airline or bus and are staying in some random hostel just to skip class to go party more with really unimaginable sights thrown into it that are unparalleled. It’s a literal rollercoaster that you’re reliving over and over in a sea of #tbt photographs.
You don’t know what this “study abroad” really entails as you have your parents drive you to the airport to embark on an excessively long flight, you begin to wonder why you can’t get there faster. You start thinking if you brought enough stuff with you, as you watch your dad swipe his credit card for your two overweight, extra-large bags as you stare at your overstuffed carry on. You don’t know who you will meet once passing security or if you will even enjoy yourself (and then hate yourself for letting a question like “Will I enjoy myself?” ever cross through your thoughts). You say goodbye to your parents and embark to a land of the unknown, and are highly unaware that this flight you are on now is the nicest, most comfortable flight you will be on all semester and if someone told you that ahead of time you would have taken more advantage of the free alcohol, because the airline be dammed if they card. You then hop off the plan at your destination, jet lagged, very out of style and are ready for the journey ahead.
The journey will be unlike another, is life changing, and you are naive if you think otherwise. You will laugh, cry, love, and lose harder than you ever have before. You will leave and come back as two different people. You will learn about your alcohol tolerance, and maybe not in the best ways. You’ll get pick pocketed one-night drunk as a skunk in another country, you’ll throw up in multiple places, and no one will let you forget. You might burn your flat while drunkenly making pizza. Mistakes are what make the experience your own. Make them.
When you come home and you get the question “So tell me about your trip?” You look at your old friends with the look of “Which one?” Do you want to hear about my multiple bus rides to Switzerland, Poland or Croatia? My travels through Spain? How about the many Ryan Air flights I took, rebooked, then took again with no hope of a refund? What if I tell you about my friend's trip to Morocco because I still sit with envy that she went and I didn’t? Or how about you go follow my friends food blog so you can see why I needed to hit the gym yesterday? When you ask me about nightlife, I can sit and tell you about every night out I had but why don’t you just watch all my saved snapchat videos from every club because I want to give you the envy just as much as you care to have it.
My experience differs from each of my friends, but I can say that each one was unforgettable. As a wise person once said about Lauren Conrad on that one Reality TV show, “She’ll always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” Don’t be that girl (or guy). Study abroad. Nothing compares, nothing beats it, and frankly, you’ll never lose the itch.