Maintaining a Healthy Long-Distance Relationship During a Semester Abroad

Amanda Carrier
November 21, 2021
Scenic view of clear sky and body of water from the top of a hill.

One of my personal goals going into this semester in Nantes, France with IES Abroad was to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship with my boyfriend until we’re reunited in the United States. I am proud to say that we have been very successful in this regard. Now that I am in the home stretch of this semester abroad with just a few more weeks until my flight home, I have a newfound sense of motivation to push through finishing my courses and submitting all my term papers because I will be back with my family, my pets, my friends, and my boyfriend before I know it.

In a way this semester has gone by rather fast, and it is hard to believe that this amazing adventure will be over in less than a month. At the same time, however, I will be candid and admit that it has also often felt as if the weeks were dragging on forever and seemed as though it will be an eternity before I am back home with my loved ones. The time has passed nonetheless, and I have managed to maintain a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend through balanced energy put towards the effort from both of us.

In fact, I believe this has been a great challenge for us to take on together as a team. Not only has it proven how much our relationship can withstand, but it has helped us to grow stronger as a couple and as individuals during this time apart. It obviously has not been easy in any way for me to be apart from him, to not have that in-person support system when I really need it, and to wake up every day missing him. Regardless, this semester has shown us that our relationship is so formidable that going through these struggles only makes us better and brings us together, rather than breaking us down. We care for our relationship so much and are so determined to constantly be better than ever that we are greater than these challenges. At the end of the day, our love for each other is going to come out on top.

We have viewed the distance this semester as an opportunity to work together towards a common goal rather than as something to come between us. Even though we cannot currently be there for each other to exchange a hug, or to do favors such as going on a grocery store run, we have continued to be active support systems in each other’s lives in every way that we can be while living on opposite sides of the ocean. We video chat whenever we get the chance, and we keep each other updated on the things that are going on in our lives. We talk through anything that is stressing us out and give advice to each other on how to get through it.

Something that I have found to be very useful and effective in allowing us to spend quality time together and feel as close as possible while apart has been using a website that allows us to watch the same show on Netflix at the same time. Every so often when we have some free time, we plan to watch the next episode of the show that we have currently been following together. We video chat on our phones while watching the episode on our computers using the website that completely syncs up the episode, including when one of us hits pause or rewinds. I would definitely recommend this for anyone in a long-distance relationship while abroad because it allows you to share an experience together even though you are apart.

To anyone considering studying abroad who is concerned about sustaining their relationship while they are gone, my first advice to you would be that you absolutely should not let this stop you from making the choice to go. It is not worth it to miss such an incredible and potentially one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for that reason. If your relationship has a solid, healthy foundation where both of you want to make long-distance work, everything will be fine while you are gone. All that your semester abroad is going to do is reveal underlying conditions of your relationship that have likely existed this whole time. It will either reveal vulnerabilities, or it will prove to you that your relationship is just as strong as you thought it was. If you are both confident in your relationship going into the semester, you will likely come out of it feeling even more confident and reassured that you are as good together as you thought you were.

My second piece of advice, however, would be to remember that things do not necessarily go the way you want them to unless both parties make the conscious choice to put in the effort to nurture the relationship throughout the entirety of the time that you are apart. Make sure you give each other space to live and grow while studying abroad, but do not let yourselves drift apart either. It is this balance that you have to figure out and manage to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship during an abroad semester, but as long as you both care enough to make it work, it probably will. Before you know it, you will be flying back home, and it will feel like you were never apart.

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Amanda Carrier

<p>My name is Amanda Carrier and I am from Branchburg, New Jersey. I'm a senior at Gettysburg College double majoring in Political Science and French. When I'm on campus, you can often find me at rehearsal with the Sunderman Conservatory Wind Symphony as a percussionist. At home, I love playing with my two cats and going down to the Jersey Shore in the summer!</p>

Home University:
Gettysburg College
Branchburg, NJ
French Language
Political Science
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