7 Ways to Maintain Your Relationship While Studying Abroad

By Christine Ascher on January 13, 2018

Being able to study abroad in school is a once-in-a-lifetime experience: you’ll make new friends, have great experiences, and get to know a new country and culture. However, there are some drawbacks to studying abroad as well—for instance, if you’re in a relationship. Many students worry about what going long-distance, even just temporarily, will mean for their relationship. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the difficulties that can come with spending the semester apart. Don’t let your relationship keep you from having a great study abroad experience; instead, follow some of these tips to ensure that you and your significant other can maintain a strong relationship while you’re away.

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1. Talk About It Before You Leave

It’s undeniable that studying abroad will change your relationship, if only temporarily. Since the two of you will be spending a few months apart, probably for the first time, it’s a good idea for you to spend some time talking about what it will be like. If each of you have a chance to voice your concerns about the upcoming semester, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you leave, and you’ll hopefully have the chance to come up with some strategies to cope with any issues that arise.

2. Communicate—Even When It’s Difficult

One of the most important aspects of a relationship is trust, and being long distance can at times put strain on that trust if you don’t maintain strong communication and honesty in your relationship. It can be easy to become suspicious when you’re far away from your significant other, and it’s essential to be open about the way that you’re feeling and to listen to what they have to say. Don’t let the way that you’re feeling go unspoken, as that’s likely to lead only to further issues and tension later on down the road. The sooner you can work out any road bumps in your relationship, the better your chances are of getting your relationship back to normal.

3. Write Letters                                            

One cute way to stay in touch (in addition to phone calls and texting) is by writing letters. While it may not be the most efficient form of communication, it’ll give you the opportunity to write and receive some good old-fashioned letters that you’ll be able to keep and look back on later. Plus the act of writing about your experiences will help ensure that you remember them better—like journaling. Even if you’re chatting on the phone in the meantime, receiving some letters once in a while can brighten up your day and allow you to feel closer to your significant other even when you’re not on the phone.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Fortunately, when you study abroad nowadays there are plenty of ways that you can stay in touch with your significant other using different apps and social media. Between Skype, Snapchat, and Instagram, there are plenty of ways that you can regularly keep in touch and stay up-to-date with what your boyfriend or girlfriend is doing on a day-to-day basis. This also gives the two of you the chance to chat throughout the day when you don’t have time to talk on the phone or video chat.

5. Establish a Regular Video Chat Time

Dealing with different time zones can be tough, so one great way to ensure that you are able to maintain consistent communication in your relationship when you’re abroad is by determining a regular time when you and your significant other can talk. It’ll be much easier to find a good time to talk if you already have an idea of a good time in mind. Though you don’t necessarily have to stick to that schedule all the time—don’t let your relationship keep you from experiencing as much as you can while you’re abroad—you’ll be more likely to make the effort to call or video chat if you already have an arrangement in place.

6. Go on Virtual Dates

Just because you’re not in the same geographical location doesn’t mean that you and your significant other can’t still spend some time together. Try watching the same show on Netflix while you’re Facetiming, for instance, or grab food at the same time and eat together. In addition to ensuring that you can maintain some shared interests, you’ll also get more to talk about this way outside of catching up on what you’re each doing, and you’ll be able to have fun together even when you’re a continent away.

7. Remember That It Won’t Last Forever

Having a long-distance relationship can be difficult, but it’s important to remember in this situation that it’s only temporary. Even if you start to feel lonely, or are just having a tough time being away from your significant other, it won’t last forever. Once you return home, you’ll be able to get back to your normal routine—so it’s going through some tough times to maintain your relationship and to keep it strong for when you return.

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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