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When your #1 ditches you for another country, here are five ways to make it suck less.

Tips for Surviving (Your Best Friend’s) Study Abroad

A Bud Abroad

When your #1 ditches you for another country, here are five ways to make it suck less.

By Anne Ertle, John Carroll University


It is truly a tragic thing when the most important person in your life decides to pick up and move away.

It’s really hard doing long distance—you miss talking to that person all day, every day. You see things that remind you of them, and they’re not there to share it with them. You might miss asking for their opinion in real time or—I know I do—miss sharing clothes with them on a whim. I’m talking, of course, about when your best friend decides to study abroad.

Tips for Surviving (Your Best Friend’s) Study Abroad

Maybe it seems dramatic because even when we’re both at school, we’re already far apart. I go to school in Ohio, and my best friend attends a university in Rhode Island. When we’re both doing our thing on a normal schedule, we’re 634.2 miles apart—but who’s counting?

Now, though, ever since my wonderfully independent bestie (just kidding, I would never call her that because…gross) decided to study in Australia for this semester, she is literally on the other side of the world.

There’s a 14-hour time difference, which has been awful for communication but so good for my math skills. It’s really hard to be a world away from my significant other (are you vomiting yet?), but if anything, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Unfortunately, it also makes the heart grow weaker, because I googled Australian wildlife and almost had a heart attack.

Anyways, my loss is your gain, because since my best friend is seeing the world, I’ve gained some worldly experience about how to deal with it.

Bon voyage and best of luck.

Token of Remembrance

Before she left, my best friend bought a matching set of shorts that say “Best” on one pair and “Friends” on the other, because she knew that it was the coolest and most perfect gift.

I wear them and think of her and text her so that there’s some sense that even when we’re on opposite sides of the world, my butt is still plastered with a shrine to our friendship. How lovely!

FaceTime is the Best Time

FaceTime is the worst thing in the world until you have a best friend studying abroad. The app is still categorized in the “Nope” folder on my phone, but now it actually gets a workout. You can tour your friend’s new home and make a joke about how you thought that the water in the toilet was supposed to swirl backwards.

It’s also important because you can meet your friend’s friends. Obviously you cannot be replaced, but it’s nice to put faces with the poor saps who are at least giving it a shot.

I am proud that I have made some Australian friends via FaceTime, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to have some of my questions about the land down under answered by a real Aussie. (In case you’re wondering: kangaroos really are hanging around, koalas less so, Tasmanian devils aren’t just in the cartoons, and when they’re going to throw up they say that they’re going to “spew.”)

Texting is Still Cool, Though

It’s very important to bombard your friend with texts, even though it’s four AM their time. They’ll need something to wake up to! It’s interesting because we’re never going out at the same time, so the conversations take an interesting turn when one of the participants is a sober Sally and the other, well, isn’t.

A boring but important note on this is to make sure their data plan is prepared for the crazy amount of messages that will be sent across borders. The complexity of international texting really makes you yearn for the days of messenger pigeons, because even though they were dirty and gross, at least standard messaging rates did not apply.

Facebook is Cool Again

Maybe it’s just me, but my whereas my Facebook feed used to be filled with cool bumper stickers and insightful wall posts, it’s now just 30 second food videos and moms bragging about their kid’s place on the honor roll.

Start flexing the old index finger, though, because you’re about to start liking a lot of pictures.

First of all, my best friend’s study abroad album is titled “A Broad Abroad,” which is the perfect name. That isn’t totally relevant except how cool is she?

While they’re posting visual updates of their bildungsroman, you can sit in your average stateside room, clicking “like” and coming up with witty comments.

Prepare for the Return

If you’re still homesick for your homie (ha), then maybe the only comfort is that at some point, they will come back (unless, of course, they fall in love and/or commit a crime and never return).

On the days I miss my friend the most I just delve into planning all of the fun things we’ll do when she gets back: all of the weird movies no one else will watch with me, the cool parking lots we’ll loiter in, good food places we’ll go to. Normal things!

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