Meeting Your Best Friends Abroad!

Headshot of Kim Blanco.
Kimberly Blanco
February 9, 2023
Nice view of some buildings and someone biking!

One of my biggest stressors before studying abroad was wondering if I would be able to make friends. I felt as if I was back in my freshman year of college, and I had to start all over again because of the new journey I would soon be embarking on in a foreign country to which I had never traveled before. Now, after living in Amsterdam for not even two weeks, I can confidently say that I have found some of my best friends, and that all of my stress was for no reason. In this blog post, I will be sharing my own experiences with making friends, and I hope that this will help ease your mind about your own study abroad experience, regardless of where you travel to!

I want to start off by saying that there is absolutely no shame in having feelings of worry and stress before studying abroad. It is completely normal, and I’m sure that most, if not all, of the other people who have studied abroad before you have felt those very same feelings! As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was disheartened to find out that I had received the housing location that I ranked the lowest on my list. Because of this, I decided that it would ruin my whole experience, and that I would have no friends. Fast forward to the very same day that I arrived in Amsterdam, I had already met so many awesome people during our first orientation event! IES Abroad made it super easy for all of us to get together and meet one another because of the week-long orientation that we participated in. This was something else that I was worried about, because making a bold gesture in order to make friends on your own can definitely be intimidating. In my housing location, there are about 44 IES Abroad students, and it is amazing that we are all friendly with one another! All of us instantly clicked, and we have even already started to book trips to other countries together. My takeaway from this is that everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t been placed in the living assignment that I did, I may not have met some of my favorite people I've ever gotten to know.

Something important to keep in mind while making friends is that regardless of the group of friends you have, you should still make sure to make your experience things on your own, and don’t miss out on things that you want to do just because some of your friends may not want to. It’s okay to be alone! Studying abroad is a time during which you can focus on finding yourself and becoming a more independent person. As I am writing this, I am sitting in a café alone, which is something that I would have never done at home. Growth is important, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

All in all, the beginning of my study abroad experience has been nothing short of amazing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me, and I hope that this blog gives you some excitement for when you will get to study abroad!


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Headshot of Kim Blanco.

Kimberly Blanco

Hi, I'm Kim! I truly feel that traveling is important in order to gain new experiences that can be used to ensure a successful professional life and personal life. Amsterdam is somewhere that I have never traveled before, so I was really excited when I saw that it was an option for me! Being able to travel around Europe while I am there seems super fun to me and this experience will definitely be one that I cherish forever! In my future, I hope to eventually work as a criminal psychologist. A fun fact about me is that I have been dancing since I was 2 years old and I am currently a part of a club dance team at Penn State University!

2023 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Criminal Studies
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