Keep Your Exchange Friends Close, But Your Home Friends Closer

In the midst of studying abroad, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of exploring new places, meeting new people and living a completely different lifestyle; so much so that we may forget to keep in contact with friends from home. Yet, it is these friendships that are often more important to maintain than your new ones as, after all, your time abroad won’t last forever.

While on exchange we naturally form close bonds with the people we share our adventures and experiences with, like flatmates or fellow international students. Meeting so many great, likeminded people and embracing different nationalities is often one the best parts of the whole experience.

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Meanwhile, the ties with friends back home start to suffer due to barriers such as distances, time zones and a lack of these shared experiences. So, while you may be making plenty of new friends to confide in, your friends back home may have lost their go-to person to talk to (you) and may be feeling a little lost without you.

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It is important to keep this in mind while you are away and make sure you find time to contact friends from home. And I don’t just mean raving on about all your adventures – try to keep up with their lives as well (even if it isn’t as exciting). Let them know you’ll still be there to talk if they need you.

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Maintaining these friendships will also help you to deal with post-abroad blues when you return home – and yes this is a real thing! When you’re away for a long time it is easy to let connections with people from home fade. However, it’s likely the effects of those lost friendships will only really hit you when you return home and find yourself unsure of whom to contact after being out of touch with people’s lives.

Thus, while leaving your new friends who you’ve spent the last few months with is always hard, one thing that will make it easier is knowing that you’ll be returning home to a bunch of your older friends waiting to catch up and hear all about it!

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Eliza Velk

From Sydney Australia, Eliza Velk is a Marketing and Media student studying at Macquarie University. She spent 5 months abroad doing a semester in Leeds, England and developed a serious passion for travel as she ventured to 15 different countries during that time. She enjoys beautiful scenery and good food, and still thinks snow is a novelty.

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