How to Cope When You’re Not Studying Abroad—But Your Friends Are

By Christine Ascher on December 8, 2017

Studying abroad is becoming increasingly popular among college students. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone has the opportunity or that everyone wants to go abroad—and that’s okay. If you happen to find yourself in the position of being someone who is staying on campus while your friends are traveling, it may be difficult at first for you to adjust to the change. Fortunately, while it can be hard to spend a semester on campus while you’re friends are away, there are ways to make the experience easier. If you’re having trouble, try out some of these ideas to help you cope.

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Plan Weekend Trips

Just because you’re still on campus doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck there. If you’re jealous of the adventures that your friends are having, try planning some of your own. Look up some places that you can visit within driving distance of your school, and plan a weekend trip. Whether you go on your own or with some of your other friends who are still at school, getting away from campus for a weekend will not only help you forget to feel jealous of your friends, but will help you make some fun memories of your own.

Increase Your Involvement on Campus               

With your friends abroad, you may find that you have fewer opportunities to socialize, or that your schedule is more open than you’re used to. Keeping yourself busy will help prevent you from feeling lonely or jealous of your friends abroad, and a great way to do so is by becoming more involved on campus. In addition to filling up your schedule, joining a new extracurricular activity will allow you to dedicate some of your time to an area that interests you, and will give you the chance to meet some new people. Hopefully, your schedule will become more occupied not only by club meetings but also by activities with some new friends.

Video Chat with Your Friends Abroad

When you and your friends are separated geographically, there’s always a risk that you’ll start to grow apart. Unfortunately, with your friends studying abroad you may feel like it’s hard to stay in touch—not only are you separated by an ocean, but you’re also dealing with different time zones. Make sure you make an effort to stay in touch with your friends, so you don’t end up feeling isolated from them. Try to find a time that is convenient for both or all of you to Skype, and give yourself ample time to catch up. They’ll probably have a lot to fill you in on, but make sure you also let them know what’s going on with you—even if you’re not abroad, you’ll still have plenty to talk about!

Don’t Feel Obligated to Listen to All Your Friends’ Stories

Undoubtedly, when your friends call they’re going to want to regale you with stories of the places they’ve visited and the new experiences they’ve had. However, you may not have quite as much fun listening to those stories as they have telling them. It’s okay to tell your friends to lay off their travel tales once in a while; though they may be caught up in their own adventures, they should also be respectful of the way you’re feeling. Don’t feel afraid to break in with your own updates, even if they seem boring in comparison; your friends will still be interested and will want to hear how you’re doing.

Check Out the Local Attractions

Don’t forget that even when you’re trapped at school there’s still plenty to do right where you are. If you find yourself lonely and bored, check out some local museums or try out that movie theater you’ve always been meaning to go to but haven’t made the time for. Get outdoors and explore the local landscape. With your friends abroad, take the chance to check out some local landmarks that you usually don’t have time for. You may even have some new suggestions ready for things to do when your friends get back.

Find a New Job

One great way to deal with the negative emotions that come with staying behind is to channel your time into something productive—for instance, by getting a new job. Making a bit of extra money will give you a quantitative way to see the value in staying in the U.S. Plus, you’ll have enough money to go out with your friends when they return, and may even have some extra cash to do a little traveling on your own in the future.

Plan Future Trips

Though it may be hard to remember now, keep in mind that just because you’re not studying abroad doesn’t mean you’ll never get to travel. Now is a good time to plan for some future trips that you want to take—you can even get suggestions from your friends for where to go and what to do. By focusing on your potential travels, you can forget any jealousy and focus on the excitement of the future.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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