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Connections and Disconnections

Headshot of  Emma Crawford.
Emma Crawford
April 2, 2023

One of the things that worried me the most about coming abroad was friendships. After being asked about location and time span, the next thing people would ask me about studying abroad was “Are you going with anyone you know?” or “Who else is going from your school?”. In contrast to many people, I came here completely 100% alone. Coming from a small, rural school that doesn’t centralize around its study abroad program meant that few people studied abroad alongside me and nobody else from my school studied abroad in London with me. Going into this, I knew that from January 10th on, I would be completely alone in a foreign country. Unless I made friends.

I had spent a lot of time pondering the idea of what would happen if I didn’t make connections with people and what would my time abroad look like if that happened. I’m a fairly introverted person who takes some time to adjust and open up, so I held on tight to the words of advice I heard from other abroad students who said friends would come to you. Luckily, the words of advice were right. I almost immediately met people who I’m still friends with now and some of my best friends abroad were made within the first few days. My fears were decimated almost immediately and I have been so lucky to have met great people who I get to spend my time abroad with. Though I absolutely love London and it's going to be incredibly hard to leave this city, the thought of saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made while abroad tugs greatly at my heartstrings. I have so many amazing memories, have had heartfelt and meaningful conversations, and traveled the world with these people who didn’t even know of my existence three months ago. The concept is preposterous, but the reality of it and living it has been so sweet. 

The flip side to that is the disconnect that comes with friends back at home. One of the biggest unexpected hardships of being abroad is the time difference and how that affects my communication with people back home. There was a period of time when I didn’t call my best friend for over a month due to a clash in schedules, time difference, and the insane quick pace of the days. I had an anxiety bubble inside me that I wasn’t prioritizing my friendships back home and I worried immensely about what it would be like coming home after such a long time apart with lessened communication. However, the moment that I finally was able to sneak a phone call in to my best friend (that happened to be almost 3 hours long) it felt as if zero time had passed between then and now. Just recently I had another friend visit me and my family visited shortly after, the familiar comfort of having people back home here soothed much of the anxiety I had had previously. Though it is still incredibly difficult sometimes to have good and consistent communication with friends and family back home, I have confidence that things will be able to slide right back into place when I go back home. 

Overall, I have strongly felt both connections and disconnections while abroad. All of the back and forth of those emotions has sometimes put me in a whirlwind. Now though, with time left in my program ticking away quickly, I feel as though my emotions about these connections have made me all the more present in my current reality. I know that my time is so unfortunately limited with the people I’ve met while abroad, and the people I love back at home are waiting for me with open arms.  

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Headshot of  Emma Crawford.

Emma Crawford

Hi! My name is Emma Crawford. I'm a sophomore comm studies major from Pennsylvania and Ill be studying abroad in London. I am a lifelong Swiftie, lover of coffee, and always down to try something new. I am so excited to explore London and other countries in Europe!

Destination:
Term:
2023 Spring
Home university:
University of Pennsylvania
Major:
Communications
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