By the end of your time here, you will have become a seasoned world traveler. It’s almost inevitable. You make friends with other Temple students, but also with study abroad students from across the country. Some from Indiana, Washington, South Carolina (really, I could just list all of the states here). But spending so much time here means that you also make connections with people all across the world.
My roommates and I have become really good friends with two guys who own a pub in the center of Rome, called The Basement. Max and Ari became like our confidants about the ins and outs, the do’s and don’ts of Rome. It has become so normal for us to see them on the weekends and go out to dinner together, that it is scary and sad that we will not be seeing them on such a regular basis. We know that our relationship with them will not end after leaving Rome; we know that we can always meet up with them around the world. And doesn’t that sound exciting? You make friends with people from a completely different culture and you know you can always pick back up that relationship like nothing has changed.
Making connections with people from all over comes in handy too. I have a very good friend (that I have known for 10+ years), Lexie, who is studying for a year in Munich, Germany. I was able to just message her over Facebook to meet up while I was visiting over the weekend, and suddenly I am staying at her apartment, going out with her American and German friends, seeing the city like I never imagined I could.
This new group knew which were the best Winachtsmarchen (Christmas Markets) to go to. They told me what the best foods were, and where the best beer halls were. I felt relaxed and comfortable in the city because I knew that they could help lead me on my explorations. There was less guess work on my end about the ins and outs of traveling.
When my roommates and I travelled to Amsterdam, we made friends with some of the flight attendants on our flight too. They also told us the insider secrets about what we had to do while we were in the city. For someone who likes to make the most out of their travels, it was nice to get an inside perspective on the important aspects of the city.
It is comforting to know that if I want to travel somewhere in the future, I can just call up one of my friends, and next thing I know I have all the information I could ever need on my destination. People want you to have a good experience in the places they hold most dear, so they always want to give you the best, most accurate information.
Making connections internationally also helps you grow as an individual. This is because you are making friends with people with different cultural backgrounds, who can broaden your own knowledge and understanding of the world. This broadened view of the world can help you later on in future situations at university, traveling, or in employment. Again, these connections can help lead you back to your favorite places around the world, making your adventure never ending.
These comforting thoughts about future travels and meeting again the friends I have made has been on my mind since returning home. I have felt strange being back in Philadelphia, but I know that I will have more and more opportunities to change and evolve into the person I was meant to be. This semester abroad was just the first step in my lifelong journey of becoming myself.