By: Kylie Finnigan
Growing up, I knew my dream was to study abroad in London. Through the college application process I kept that in mind; the only schools I applied to were schools that I knew could get me to London.
For years, I had always pictured my study abroad experience in London to be all about me. I would travel to a totally different country and absorb myself into a new culture, all by myself. I dreamt of growing and discovering myself in the city I love so much. However, things almost never turn out the way you imagine them to be.
When I first applied to study abroad in London, a handful of my friends in Zeta Phi Eta, a pre-professional fraternity in communications, also expressed interest in doing so. At first, I was iffy about going to London with them for various reasons, as I was constantly told it could be a bad idea. I was worried about all of the things that could go wrong, and even more so worried that my dream of going to a new city in order to work on myself by myself, would be crushed.
However, I came to find that being in London with my friends from my home university was not so bad after all. Here are some reasons I was told to avoid studying abroad with friends, and how those reasons have been proven wrong.
Don’t study abroad with friends because you won’t meet new people
I have actually met a decent amount of new people, and it is so nice to be able to hang out with these new people as well as my old friends. We are all very sociable and outgoing people, so it was easy for all of us to make friends either with locals or with other study abroad students. All of us had introduced one another to the people we met at some point or another and now we can all hang out together! I also wouldn’t have met half of the people I have met if it weren’t for my old friends introducing me to their new friends their classes and activities.
Don’t study abroad with friends because you won’t gain self-reliance
I believe throughout this experience, all four of my fellow Zetas and I have gained self-reliance and have gone through self-discovery. Although it is nice to know you have people here who have your back, we all have done things for ourselves and by ourselves throughout our semester here. We are all understanding of the fact that sometimes we just want to explore London and other surrounding places by ourselves in order to grow and learn from the experiences. None of us would hold each other back from allowing this personal growth to take place.
Don’t study abroad with friends because you can’t create the experience you want
I can’t tell you anything falser! My friends and I all want each other to have the experience they have always dreamed of, so we let it happen for one another! Personally, I have been able to do everything I have wanted to do in London and more, and I have people I love to tag along if they’d like.
Additionally, my home friends even made the application process easier for me. As I previously explained in the first article in this series, I really struggled while applying for my study abroad program. Having four others going through the same thing definitely made it easier for me. Now we have all transitioned into this new environment together, bringing us closer than we all had expected.
I had always imagined this experience to be all about finding myself and learning more about the person I am and want to be, and I still did that with my friends here. Although we do have our spats every now and then, it has only made us closer and I am so grateful for that. I believe everything happens for a reason, and my friends are definitely meant to be here with me. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!