A reflection of my time in Barcelona in the Spring of 2010, perhaps some advice for prospective study abroad students. If you find yourself falling into any of the mentioned categories, consider seeking out and befriending your Best Match.
The Couple That Came There Together
This pair will probably not talk to many people, besides each other. They see this semester as a growing experience for themselves and use the alone time to test what it might be like to live together. The rush of living in the new, fantastic [insert fabulous city] for a semester smothers any possible fights they might have. They keep to themselves.
Best Match: The Couple That Met There
The Couple That Met There
These two will start out as a flirtation, maybe on a trip somewhere outside of [insert fabulous city] and continue to hook up, insisting that it was “just until we move back.” However, one “is in a relationship with” notification later and all of sudden they have their “how me met” story planned for the wedding. Still, it’s cute and romantic and inevitable so what’s not to like?
Best Match: The Couple That Came There Together
The People That Know How to Get Drugs The First Three Days
Seriously, how? When I studied abroad I could barely find a post office let alone someone with goods. Serious admiration for these go-getters. This breed of study abroad student will usually know the best underground clubs in [insert fabulous city] within the first three days too, so befriending them enough to ask where to go for some LSD bathroom sex will prove useful to you. The other branch of this breed is pothead-types who smoke in their rooms and go on walks to “get to know the spirit of [insert fabulous city].”
Best Match: The Bro Crew
Best Match for Pothead Strain: The People Who Drink All The Time (Happy)
The People Who Drink All The Time (Happy)
These people may very well be #3s as well. Hell, they may be everyone in your program. As long as this breed is abroad, there will be absolutely no rules regarding drinking; you better believe it’s motherfucking 5 o’ clock every day. Not only will they be drunk on Tuesday, they will be 7 beers into the perfect afternoon by the time they go to Philosophy 6205. They will always know which [insert fabulous city] bars have the best burgers and beer and are more than happy to share the info. This student type is fun, non-judgmental, and sometimes you just don’t want to drink alone on a Tuesday at 10AM.
Best Match: The Graduating Seniors
The People Who Drink All The Time (Depressed)
For whatever reason, these people are homesick, doing poorly in school, or just bored but for whatever reason, they are shitfaced 66% of the time (we do spend a third of our day sleeping). They will not be drinking because they can, they will be drinking because they need to. They are less social than The People Who Drink All The Time (Happy) and tend to be reclusive. Typically quiet in classes, they may knock on your door to bum a cigarette but they, like The Couple That Came There Together, keep to themselves.
Best Match: Jack Daniel’s
The Bro Crew
This clan is there to make a semester-long combination of Eurotrip, Superbad, and Project X. They intend to hook up with as many local girls as possible during their short time here. They may get a few locals, but will end up having an FWB relationship with one of the Psuedo-Hipster Girls. When I was studying abroad, this group had a uniform of flatbills and college jerseys; look for similar patterns in your own group, perhaps an updated version (attempted facial hair and v-necks, perhaps?).
Best Match: The Psuedo Hipster Girls
The Person Who’s Never There
You will see this person in class, perhaps late at night in the dorm but during the day and on weekends they are almost nowhere to be seen. They leave early and come back late and it remains a mystery what they do in the daylight hours.
Best Match: No one knows…
The Rich Bitch
This girl comes from money and will spout four or more of the following:
“The food here sucks! Where’s the fries?”
“These beds are so uncomfortable, where can I get a decent mattress pad?”
“This subway is so dirty, remind to get Purell the next chance I get.”
“Do you SEE what that girl is wearing, that is so weird.”
“I don’t understand why they don’t just speak English…”
“He just kept buying me drinks so I was like ‘I’ll drink this fine, but you’re ugly'”
“Daddy puh-lease I need more money. Ok thanks bye!”
“They said I could get the best [insert local food] three but… I wasn’t impressed.”
Best Match: Skype-version of her parents.
The Person Who Gets With A Local
They either date or have an FWB relationship with someone they meet in class, at bar, on the subway, on a tour, etc. but they will have relations with a human sporting a foreign accent. Most members of this breed will not have success with said Local either because their passionate foreign affair fizzles out or they will think they can have an indefinite amount of Skype dates until one of them caves and moves from [insert fabulous city] to [insert fabulous city].
Best Match: The Person Who’s Never There (this may be because they are likely to be the same person).
This breed shouts about what cool new bar (not a club: too mainstream) they found last Sunday and might all bond over an obscure musical taste. They will be slightly likeable but also exclusive. This group will be wild-cards as far as extra-curricular activities. Maybe they will go to an orgy dance party on a Monday, shop for ironic toe-socks on Wednesday, and build a card castle Friday night while reminiscing over Backstreet Boys jams. They will probably form the closest thing you have seen to a high school clique since your senior year (so 2007, perhaps it’s retro-chic)?
Best Match: The Bro Crew
The Graduating Seniors
This breed may be made up of members from The People That Know How to Get Drugs In The First Three Days, The People Who Drink All The Time (Happy), or The Bro Crew. This group will pull out all stops, spending early graduation money on whatever they want because “I’m in [insert fabulous city] motherfuckazzz” They could have graduated last semester but they wanted a semester abroad so they are taking a Pass/Fail in Beginner Drawing, Acting, and Creative Poetry.
Best Match: Each other