This blog post is brought to you by a person who has been vaguely inspired by a spicy tortilla and a wholesome chat. If you know you know.
When I moved to Spain one of the things I was most worried about was making new friends. I was the only one from my university moving to the Basque Country, and one of the few that chose a northern region. Sure, I literally do not stop talking once I get going, but my awkward tendencies and my strong discomfort when in the realm of small talk socially stunt me when it comes to the fine art of friend-making.
When you go abroad, most people already have their social network sorted. You have your university friends. You have your home friends. You have your work friends. Now… your year abroad friends?
These friends that fall into your life thanks to that big desperate meet up in a plaza somewhere will be the people you spend a lot of your time with over the next nine months. A massive group will be whittled down to a smaller one. Promises of nights out and trips and adventures will dwindle. Then you find your year abroad friends.
The year abroad friends will have already been through some good times and some bad times in life. They will have had University or just the wonders of life to grow as a person and experience independence without moving a whole ocean away. A year abroad, although new, is a step up from what you’ve already done rather than a whole new ball game in many respects. Yet you will all journey through this stage of your life together.
You discuss work, you discuss your rusty Spanish skills and how you really don’t want to do university work and how working 12 hours a week is just too much compared to lectures. You somehow dive straight into the deeper realms of life and then scrabble for the funny anecdotes later. I don’t know everyone’s favourite colour, but I do know what makes them happy, and what grinds their gears.
My year abroad friends have often been my first port of call, and I haven’t been let down yet. They are intelligent, they are funny, they are thoughtful, and they are kind. If you’re going abroad next year, worry a little less about making friends, because there will be people moving abroad who will be just as worried as you. You will find your year abroad friends.