The Thing They Don’t Tell You About Studying Abroad


When you go abroad everyone tells you about the incredible adventures you will have, the new foods you try and all the amazing places you get to go. They also tell you how your experiences will shape you into the person you are going to become.  All of these things are a large part of your study abroad experience, but the thing they don’t tell you about abroad is you will meet the most incredible people- people who will change your life.

While abroad I have made the most incredible group of friends. The type of people who will drag you out of bed when you’re suffering from heartbreak. The ones who lift you up when you’re sad and cheer you on when you’re succeeding. They hype you up when you look good and tell you when you’re being a fool. The people I’ve met have my best interests at heart, and I have theirs in mine.  I know that one day I will attend their weddings, and one day our children will be friends—because we have already talk about all of this. These are the type of friends that will last a life time. These are friends that are more life family.

Obviously, you meet friends abroad, but they don’t tell you about the family you’ll make. I was so scared to travel abroad, but my host mom Carmen eased all my nerves. She became the mother figure I needed to help guide me through this phase of my life (even if half of the time I didn’t understand her). Whenever I needed a shoulder to cry on (literally), she was there. We celebrated holidays together and watched movies. She always inquired about my day—the good and the bad. The meals she made were delicious—she even picked out all the carrots because she knew I didn’t like them. Carmen treated me like I was her daughter, and I am forever grateful to have her in my life. I also made a sister. Angela, my host sister has been another reassuring figure in my time abroad. Just like her mom, Angela has been there for me when I needed it. When my heart was broken, she told me not to worry, and we barricaded ourselves in a fort of pillows and watched movies all day. Both Angela and Carmen opened their home to me, something most people would not be willing to do. Not only that, but they opened their hearts to me, something they didn’t need to do. I quickly became a member of their family, and they accepted me as one of their own. I owe so much to these incredible women that I am lucky enough to call my family.

These are the things they don’t tell you: they don’t tell you that you’ll be sitting at the dinner table on the last pizza Sunday with tears in your eyes because you’re leaving your host family. They don’t tell you that you’ll meet your best friends, for them only to be taken away from you. They don’t tell you that you’ll fall in love with a new continent, way of life and people. They don’t tell you that it will be so hard to leave; not because you don’t miss home, but because you will miss the life you’ve made.  These are the best things about abroad, but they’re also the worst. These are the things they don’t tell you about abroad.

Megan Grenier is a student at Saint Anselm College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Seville, Spain.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

Leave a Reply