How To Study Abroad Without Making Anyone Hate You

Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris

1. Don’t talk about how “we do things differently in Europe.”

2. Do not inform your friends that you have a new obsession with a new beer you discovered in Ireland, and then order a Guinness at the bar.

3. If you studied abroad in London, for the love of God, do not start referring to your tennis shoes as your trainers or telling someone they’re acting mad when they’re being crazy.

4. When you return home, limit your abroad stories to one per day, or people will stop listening to you.

5. Perhaps studying abroad changed your life. That’s great, but remember that pretty much every other person says the same thing. So resist the urge to make it your only topic of conversation with people. Because honestly, they don’t care that much unless they’re your mom.

6. Don’t refer to your friends that you met overseas as your “abroad friends.” Because even if you met them abroad, they’re probably still American.

7. If you studied abroad in the summer for six weeks, do not refer to it as the time you lived in Europe. Just embrace it for what it was.

8. If you learned how to say “Hello, how are you?” or “I’m from America” in the language of the city in which you studied abroad, refrain from repeating these phrases every five seconds when you’re back together with your college friends. You will be met with ten McKaylas who are not impressed.

9. Go easy on the profile pictures. We’ll all make sure to look at the picture of you skydiving in Switzerland or standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. One step at a time, my friend.

10. If you refer to soccer as futbol, be careful. Someone may hit you.

11. Do not hate on America when you get back from your trip. It does not make you sound superior or more cultured than everyone else.

12. Be wary of referring to your new way of dressing as “Eurostyle.” Because there are H&M’s in America too.

13. Don’t go overboard with your Instagram captions. They will make or break you.

14. Remember that America has beer too. America has breweries too. America has pretty views and interesting people and funny words for certain things. Don’t come home and feel like your life has to become boring again.

15. …You are allowed to complain that the Diet Coke tastes better abroad though, because it does. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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