By Drew Marlier, CIMBA Italy Study Abroad Blogs*
So, you’ve decided to study abroad. What’s your first instinct? Convince your best friends to make the trip with you for a semester long adventure!
I’m here to tell you that you should highly consider going abroad without your best friends.
But before getting into that, I’ll go ahead and commence the weekly update on my life:
I totally forgot about the study aspect involving study abroad. This week was our first official week of classes. It was painful, but I pushed through. Don’t worry, parents, I’m learning something. Or, you know, trying to.
The weekend brought a trip to Munich for the final weekend of Oktoberfest. Somehow, I survived a weekend camping in a tent – something I’ve never done in my entire life. The festival was absolutely wild, and I definitely had a crazy Oktoberfest weekend.
Taking on festivals like Oktoberfest with new friends makes the experience all the more worthwhile!
Moving back into the subject of this post: Why should you consider going on a study abroad program without your best friends? I mean, how awesome would it be to explore a foreign country with your best friends? Let me go ahead and explain my position on the subject.
My time in Italy is my second time on a study abroad program and my second time going alone. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what it would be like if one of my best friends were to go with me. But I’ve experienced others who went with their best friends/people they’ve known previously, and I can tell you what it looks like.
A lot are inseparable. They will, more or less, shut themselves off from others in the group.
By studying abroad without your best friends, it gives you the opportunity to experience a few lasting benefits.
1. It gives you the opportunity to grow.
With your best friends, you’re going to be in your comfort zone. Studying abroad should be an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try something completely new. You’ll grow so much as an individual by jumping out of your comfort zone.
2. It allows you to create new friendships.
I’ll tell you what: I’ve met some pretty incredible people on both my study abroad experiences. To be honest, I wouldn’t have developed those relationships if I had gone with my best friends. By going alone, you are almost forced to make new friends, which is a phenomenal opportunity. Those relationships are lasting, and you’ll have that connection for the rest of your life.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t study abroad with your best friends. I think it would be a phenomenal if my best friends wanted to study abroad with me. However, if they did, I don’t think I would’ve built the same relationships and grown as much as an individual.
So, when you decide to go abroad and attempt to convince your friends to tag along, consider the benefits of making the trip alone. The growth you’ll discover in yourself and the new relationships you’ll create will make your study abroad experience so much more worthwhile.
Drew Marlier is a senior studying business administration and marketing at the University of Iowa. As a student blog ambassador for CIMBA, he will be writing about his experiences on his program in Italy.