Ask any of our IES Abroad Ambassadors about their favorite stories from studying abroad, and it will almost always revolve around the people they met, and who they spent time with. The people you meet while studying abroad – fellow classmates, host families, IES Abroad staff and faculty, internship supervisors, travel buddies – often become friends and contacts for life!
Read on to hear stories of friendships that blossomed abroad and have continued – even if miles apart – when they arrive home.
"My friends from my program are as present and important in my life as my friends at Tulane. I am also beyond ecstatic to be able to welcome Gabriella, my Italian Student Companion (ISC) when I lived in Rome, who will come stay with my family and me, and celebrate Thanksgiving with us this year during her first trip to the United States."
"Although I only studied abroad in Vienna for a few months, I became very close friends with an Austrian who worked at the music therapy practice where I held an internship. Despite her only speaking some English, and myself only speaking a small amount of German, our communication and friendship have continued to blossom after my return to the United States, and we even had a chance to catch up when she visited me in California in September."
"I was able to make connections with peers from around the United States, as well as academics, activists, and politicians across Europe. It's amazing the network of academics and professionals that I can draw from for advice and information!"
"I made lasting friendships with both Americans in my program, and British students at my school (Queen Mary University of London). All of my adventures and experiences were enhanced by the people I got to share them with. I miss them every day but sincerely believe I will see them again. In fact, I'm planning a trip to Penn State next semester to visit someone!"
"I made closer friendships on my trip than I ever did in school. It was a joy to spend time with them and harder than I could have imagined to leave them."
"I studied abroad in Cape Town in a group of just 18 students. Going to a place halfway around the world and so far away from all of my friends and family at home, I learned that it is okay to fully immerse yourself in study abroad life. Your friends will still be there when you get back. Being in such a small group allowed me to form new relationships and create lasting friendships with people I never would have met otherwise – I am so grateful for this!"
"I have been able to meet up and go on adventures with friends from across the United States and even our Japanese classmates that have come to visit! Our friendships remain strong, so we always can count on having a language partner to continue to improve our fluency with. If it weren't for IES Abroad, I don't think I would have ever been able to have such a meaningful socio-cultural experience."
"While abroad, I met some of the most wonderful people in the world. Between my incredible host family and the close friends I made, who live on the other side of the United States from me, I can confidently say I gained friends that will last a lifetime. They made studying abroad in Berlin exponentially better, and they're all still active members of my life today. I couldn't ask for anything better."
"I lived with a host family, and only spoke in French with them. At first I had no idea if I would even be able to communicate with them for necessities, such as when we were eating, but I was surprised by how easy to was to communicate with them, even at more than a superficial level. Expressing enthusiasm and interest in getting to know a person goes a long way in overcoming small language barriers."
Your relationship with friends isn't the only kind of relationship to think about when you study abroad. Check out more thoughts from our IES Abroad Ambassadors on your relationships with significant others and with yourself.
- Alumni Advice: Being in a Relationship While Studying Abroad
- How to Practice Self-Care While Studying Abroad