Our childhood friends are of course among the best friends of our lives. We grew up together, we know each other’s families, we did everything together, we have the same friends, same community and way of life. But once I studied abroad, I learned so much more about myself and what I want in a friendship, and in life.
I realized after meeting so many different people, sharing so many new and exciting experiences, and learning about different cultures, that my childhood friends were in fact merely out of comfort. The connection was no longer really there. I changed, and grew up. I wanted different things.
I had never really had the chance to know otherwise, and especially after so many years of having our lives completely intertwined, it only seemed natural to continue being best friends, even if I wasn’t really having the time of my life and connecting on the deepest level with them anymore.
And I only realized this when I studied abroad, and was presented with hundreds of people from across the globe who were just like me. They were people that were looking for adventure, for excitement, to learn new things, gain some independence, and make some new connections.
It was like I had the whole world in front of me, so many choices, and I wasn’t forced to do anything. My study abroad friends I lived together in the college dorms, and literally did everything together. We grocery shopped together, cooked together, did laundry took, ate together, cleaned together, studied together, partied together, beached together, basically anything that needed to be done, was together. It wasn’t like it was with my friends back home where we would only go shopping or drink coffee together. We built a life together abroad.
We were all somewhat dependent on each other, being alone in a foreign country. But with that, we became a family. I, of course, got closer to certain people more than others, and the lack of familiarity and comfort made us all come closer to each other. We were all craving feeling a sense of belonging and home, so we together made that. We did holidays together, just like a family would. We cried to each other in tough times and supported each other. We were there when we all had our first hook up, some of even when we found the love of our lives. We shared our traditions and cultures with each other and shared childhood stories. We traveled together and protected each other.
My study abroad friends even to this day, nearly a decade later will always be my closest friends. We have this unique, shared experience that no one will understand. They became my family and although are from all over, they are just like me. They showed me that we should never settle because there are plenty of fish in the sea. Friendships are just like relationships, sometimes we just can’t believe what’s really out there.