Studying abroad is an amazing experience — or, at least, that’s what you’re thinking while Facebook stalking your best friends stuffing their faces with authentic Italian food, falling in love with beautiful Parisian men, and having a glass of wine with every meal because “it’s cheaper than water.”
All joking aside, going abroad for a semester or two is a great way to learn another language, get a feel for an unfamiliar culture, and see the world through another’s eyes. But, like all good things, there are some caveats to the whole experience — namely the folks that you meet along the way. Remember — people are ultimately the same across cultures, country lines, and languages — so just because you’ve left your university in America doesn’t mean you’ve left behind that kid who sits behind you in Accounting and always asks for your notes after sleeping through the entire lecture. Here are all the other crazy kooks you’ll meet along the way.
Your German Politics Professor Who Doesn’t Care That You’re Abroad — That Assignment Is Due at 8 AM Sharp
This guy doesn’t care about that super cool popup show that you stumbled upon last night — you came here to study, not dance to alien music all night. Looks like you’ve got to pull an all-nighter sans pizza.
Your British Literature Professor Who Will Totally Accept Seeing The Tempest at the Globe Theatre Instead of Your Homework
She is the cool professor who’s from your home university and is just as giddy to be teaching abroad as you are to be studying abroad. She accepts this as homework because she was there, too and totally forgot to grade those exams that she was supposed to have graded already.
That Girl Who Accompanies You on Every Trip But You Never Remember Her Name
Is it Claire? Or Rebecca? Maybe Rachel? Whatever it is, you’ve definitely shared a bunk bed with her and have to come up with creative ways to not have to ever address her by name.
The Dude Who You Met on Night One and Thinks You’re Gonna Date When You Get Back to “the States” (As He Calls It)
It was you, him, and 20 other excited students crammed into a touristy bar and he bought you a drink. Now he’s friending you on Facebook, liking all of your Instagram posts, and is trying to plan a trip to Rome for Easter — which you know because he keeps sending you G-Cal invites.
The Girl Who Won’t Stop Saying “Grazie!” When She Gets Back to the USA
She tells her Starbucks barista that she’s so sorry after she says the Italian word for “thank you”, it’s just that she’d been so used to saying it for a whole semester in Florence and it’s really hard to break the habit.
The Dude Who Insists on Changing His iPhone Settings to British English
He also adopts British English words like “rubbish”, “cheers”, and “gobsmacked”. His peers have taken to correcting each text he sends where he spells “realized” with an “s”.
The Dude With Culture Shock… For the Entire Year
He’s always surprised that he has to pay for water — “You know water is free in America, right?” — and gets angry when the shopkeepers don’t speak perfect English.
The Roommate Who’s Constantly Going Out
… And turns the lights on when they stumble in at four in the morning, even though they make you get ready for your 8 a.m. in complete darkness.
The Roommate Who Never Leaves the Apartment
Whenever you go into you’re room, they’re there. Usually they’re sleeping, watching movies on their laptop, or doing homework. Once you asked them what their favorite thing to do was and they just looked at you quizzically.
The Girl Who Doesn’t Ever Go to Happy Hour Because She Needs to Study
Much like the roommate who never leaves the room, this girl is always studying for something. Which is weird, because she’s in all your classes and you never have any homework.
The Dude That Tries to Peer Pressure the Girl Who’s Trying to Study Into Going to Happy Hour
Even though she has spent literally the entire semester studying, the dude thinks he can somehow convince her to go to happy hour this week. “How can you pass up $5 pints?” He asks incredulously. She merely shrugs and reopens her biology book. Which is weird, because this is a fashion marketing program.
The Local Who Becomes Your Cool BFF
She smokes cigarettes, has that impeccable French girl style, and knows all of the cool places to go in town. She also has a thing for American culture. You begin to wonder if she is friends with you so that she can have a place to stay when she visits NYC next year.
The Girl Who Suddenly Hates America
This girl would happily give up her citizenship if she could and she eagerly derides everything American — from the cheeseburgers to the healthcare system. She always uses the Scandinavian countries as prime examples of perfection.
The Girl Who Is Always Gone
Where is she? Nobody knows because she doesn’t have a cell phone, a Facebook, or, perhaps, a name. Was she even here in the first place? Side note: her roommate loves that she basically has a single room now.
The Dude Who Doesn’t Know When to Throw Away His Rotten Food in the Shared Kitchen
Why he uses the kitchen in the first place is a mystery, since he always goes out to dinner. Then he brings home his leftovers and stores them in the fridge… Never to be touched again until the resident “Nice Person from Minnesota” throws it away in disgust.
The Dish Hoarder
This is a shared kitchen… But not to the Dish Hoarder. They have no concept of “other people”. They make food and take it to their room, but never return the dishes. Soon, the kitchen meant to accommodate 30 people only has two plates, one knife, four forks, and a burnt spatula.
The Pretentious Art History Major
They only wear black, attend secret art galleries, and have somehow never spoken more than a couple words. Margo from The Royal Tenenbaums is totally their “aesthetic”, as they once told you during a rare bout of talking.
The Slacker Business Administration Major
Do they ever even go to class? Not only are they a slacker, but they barely even see the city where they’re living. Sometimes they’ll drag themselves away from Netflix to get some McDonald’s.
The Girl Who’s Staying After the Semester Ends “Just to Travel Around a Little Bit”
That’s code for “stay here forever”. Even though her budget is small, she somehow manages to float around the continent for free: hitching rides, Couchsurfing, and finding local friends. She only goes back to America to reset her visa.
The Dude Working the Illegal Job
He’s the bartender getting paid under the table and everyone is jealous of his extra income. But then again, he pays for everyone’s drinks when he gets paid, so it’s hard to hold a grudge.
The Extreme Budgeter
Everyone wonders why this person wanted to study abroad if they’re not even going to do anything while they’re there. The refuse to grab a pint with friends, instead they prefer to sip water and marvel at how little they’ve spent abroad.
The Person With No Discernible Budget
This person eats out every night, shops at H&M each week for a new “essential item”, and plans weekend trips with impunity. They would never stay in a hostel and, again, everyone wonders why this person wanted to study abroad if they’re not going to experience the local culture.
The Obliviously Loud Dude That Draws Local Ire Whenever You Go Out
Even when you and your friends try to sneak out of the shared apartment, this dude always catches up, often yelling, “Hey! Wait for me!” Amid a quiet French street.
The Random Person Who Somehow Wiggles Their Way Into Every Trip Your Squad Plans
If the Obliviously Loud Dude and the Girl Who’s Name You Can Never Remember had a child, it would be this person. They’re loud and definitely not your friend, but when they ask to join you trip, you can’t say no, can you? (You can).
The Person Who Can’t Wait to Get Back Abroad
Okay, this is all of us.