Falling in love while studying abroad, especially if only for a semester or a year, can be both exciting and terrifying. But that’s perfectly normal. Just because you know you only have a finite amount of time together, it shouldn’t stop you from giving your heart away.
That being said, here are some tips I’ve gathered from my own experience, on how to deal with falling in love while studying abroad.
1. Don’t alienate yourself from your friends and family.
It’s so easy to get lost in a new culture, and then get lost again, spending all of your time with your new S.O. But don’t get caught up and completely ignore the people who you traveled abroad with. And worse yet – don’t forget about the people back at home because you’re too busy with the new beau. Yes, it’s great when you’re with them, but don’t forget to make sure all of your experiences aren’t centered around them – you’re in a new country to explore and see the world; so make sure you do what you came to do. (And maybe give your BFF from back home a call and update her on the new love life…you’ve got a lot to share!)
2. Don’t forget about your studies.
If you’re new to relationships, or just being somewhere new, it’s far too easy to use your S.O. as a crutch and a shield. Spend time with them, but don’t forget that you are studying abroad…don’t let your school work slip behind.
3. Travel (with them if you can).
Being in a new country opens hundreds of doors for travel and new experiences…as does falling in love while studying abroad. Why? Because you can travel and create these new experiences together! Go out and explore the world around you, together! If they won’t let you spread your wings, they’re not worth your time. And if they’ll come with you, you’ll have the time of your life.
4. Explore who you are, with and without them.
Suddenly being somewhere without your core support group can be scary. But it can also be very liberating. Go out and take time to do things for yourself and by yourself. I know you may be trying to discover who you are as a couple, but don’t forget to discover who you are on your own – studying abroad is such a great opportunity to do so! You do you!
5. Don’t let them become your crutch.
WARNING: I’ll repeat – Do NOT let your S.O. become your crutch. One of the joys of studying abroad is learning how to live by yourself, for yourself. If you rely on your S.O. for comfort and security, whether it’s to do with language barriers or plain unfamiliarity, you’ll be hurting your own personal growth. Do things on your own, with them beside you.
6. You both know the situation, let it happen.
Yes, you’re leaving after a semester. Don’t let that stop you. Challenge yourself to let go and love freely. Falling in love while studying abroad is a beautiful thing, and if it’s meant to be, it will be. You might come back, but you might not. Don’t let that stop you from doing anything. Fall hard, fast and deeply in love, and just let it play out the way it’s supposed to. Just live in the now.
7. Have fun.
Whatever you do, remember that it’s a privilege to find someone you find attractive, where the feeling is mutual, and you get along. So enjoy it, embrace it, and keep the relationship alive…as long as you’re having fun. Studying abroad is the experience of a lifetime, so live it up and love every minute of it!