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Will Our Paths Cross Again? The Art Of Keeping Contact After Leaving Friendships Behind

Making the decision to study abroad and leave behind all that’s familiar is a hard task. You end up asking lots of questions like what will the university be like? What should I take with me? Will I be happy with the place I picked? Will I have nice roommates? I personally think that my biggest question was: “Will I make any friends?”  And, more importantly, “Where will I make them?”

During my time in Groningen, Netherlands, I met an awesome group of people through a student organization. We had house parties together and we made a great study group. Once my six months were up, I had to leave behind the lovely connections that I made with them. I was heartbroken and I might have shed a tear or two. These people let me be myself and accepted me for who I was. They’re the greatest friends that I have made. But even in this day and age, when technology is a major part of our life, it is quite hard to keep these strong connections and stay up to date with what is going on in each other’s lives.

One of my closest friends lives in Scotland, which is only a flight away from Malta, but we are both students and it is harder to meet up than we expected it to be. Thankfully, in the past year we’ve already met once; even if it was just for a couple of hours roaming around Brighton. It was as if we were back in her bedroom in Groningen, sharing experiences and talking about life. Here, I’ll talk about how I maintain a long-distance friendship with her. I hope these tips can be applied to your own long-distance friendships!

 

  1. Download a chat app so you can stay in touch. WhatsApp and scheduling Skype calls saved our life. I know that she is just a phone call or a message away. Just knowing that settles the thoughts of losing her and just makes me feel that we have not lost the connection that we once had. These messaging applications are the best thing to friendship-saving. It’s ok if she doesn’t answer instantly; she may be busy, but you know that she will be there for you. Be ready to answer your messages!

leaving friendships study abroad texting skype

  1. Try and keep the random inside jokes alive and act as if she was just one mile away rather than several thousand.
  1. We made a target to try to meet up at least once a year, and if we are lucky twice a year. She knows that my house is her house and vice versa. Knowing that makes it easier for us to make plans and visit each other. The most settling part of it all is that whenever we do meet it feels like no time has passed at all.
  1. We write to each other. Not instant messages, but actual letters. Either a birthday card, or a post card or even just a random letter. It just makes the whole friendship realistic and not just a factious idea in your head of a friend you met so long ago in a foreign country. Also, it makes the six-month experience realistic. All my letters from her are all saved in a little box in my room.

leaving friendships study abroad typing kermit

  1. You may call this stalking, but I call this social media support. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through the Instagram feed just to catch up with her life. I even make sure I liked each and every one of them just to let her know that I miss her face.
  2. When we finally do end up meeting, I make it a point to drop everything (my phone included) and make sure we are in BFF isolation. After months of counting down until the next time you meet, and the long hug once you pick her up from the airport, you need to enjoy each moment of being together. It will also be great having her around because now the people and places you talk about are not just pictures on her screen, but actual realistic places.

leaving friendships study abroad friends hug group

Every time we say goodbye, it hurts as much as the first time we said it. Saying goodbye does not ever feel realistic; it only hits you when you are leaving the person, and that is when the tears start flowing. Unit then, you keep denying it until the last minute. After practically spending every hour of the day together during those six months, I must say that not having her around when I got back home made me feel a little bit empty.

One of the things which happens after you say goodbye is that you are back to counting down the days of when you will see each other again. It does not remain a ‘goodbye’. Instead, it becomes a ‘see you soon’. Always keep in mind to update each other and be there for them, communication is key. Your paths will in fact cross again if you make them do so.

leaving friendships study abroad team friendship

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Greta

Greta is a 21 year old Computational Linguistics student currently finishing off her last semester of her Bachelor at the University of Malta. In addition to being a full-time student, she is a Vocal Coach and spends most of her free time training her own voice along with her students'. She is from Malta, but has spent six months of her studies in Groningen, Netherlands. This latter experience has inspired her to study or live abroad which is one of her aspirations. She is wants to continue her studies in a foreign country, photograph her experience and hope to share it with other people on her blog or Instagram. Three words that describe here: wanderluster, clumsy and performer.


25 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this article, as it is intereresting and real. I am sure lots of other students and also youngsters who decide to leave everything and work in an other country is experiencing the same exciting and uncertian life as we speak.

    The experience in its self enhances life and broadens ones knowledge, which in return makes one stronger.

  2. This is a great post, and it’s so true – being long-distance doesn’t have to mean the friendship is over! In fact, some of my best friendships are long-distance friendships, many of which have lasted over 20 years!

  3. Yes, you can be friends long distance. It helps that there’s the Internet. I was a military kid and when I left friends, all we had was letters. Now I’m a military spouse and I keep in contact with my friends thanks to Facebook.

  4. I’ve been lucky enough to find lifetime friends during High school. 10 years later and we still make an effort to reconnect every now and then. Great tips! Constant communication is always the key to maintaining any type of relationship.

  5. This is such a nice post about friendship. I know how it is when your friend is far away. Actually, 8 years ago I moved to other continent and left my family and all of my friends behind. However, my best friend and me are always in touch, always in each others life. True friendship is stronger then any distance.

  6. These are good tips. I kind of wish I had read them before I left my study abroad trip, because I really have lost touch with everybody. But I have a hard time even keeping friends who are nearby :/

    1. I’m very sorry to hear that. But it’s never too late to try and keep in touch with these people. Maybe you can kind them on Facebook. Sometimes it is hard to keep friends with the lifestyle you may lead but trying out new things to help you meet new people is something that will be truly beneficial in the long run.

  7. this is awesome keep posting more! good work I actually think you are very good in writing your thoughts and I learned a lot from you 😀 love the pics btw 😀

  8. That’s so great that when you get to spend time with your friend who is far away now that you put aside all the electronic devices. They distract us so much and its important to be with just them at some points.

    1. Exactly! It’s such a pity that sometimes you go to a restaurant and you see people more invested in their phone than the person on the other side of the table.

  9. This is a really great idea to keep friendships alive. This is also a positive use of social media, being able to see friends and their children and proud moments in their life are now available with social media. I still write and send birthday cards and cards for other holiday’s through the year, Thanks for the tips!

  10. These are awesome ways to keep the friendships that you have alive. Kids are lucky these days because there are more means of communication.

  11. I think it’s so important to keep friends. I have friendships which cross paths when it’s the least unexpected. No matter where you are friendships can last if you both put in the effort

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