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Sex + Relationships

Long-Distance Relationship While Studying Abroad? Let’s Discuss.

Recently, I have been reading one of my favorite childhood book series “Shooting My Life's Script” by Paula Pimenta. When I first read it as a thirteen-year-old, I thought the book was an epic romance that I idolized. 


Now, almost seven years later, I realize that the book is just some sweet tale of a regular high school relationship.


Reading the book series now, with the knowledge that I have, I find it funny when I read the “big disasters” that almost break the couple up. Now I know that these “big disasters,” such as your crush starting to date someone else, it’s not some sort of tragedy, but just what happens in life.


One part of the book, however, deeply bothered me.


Before diving into that, I am going to give some background story about the plot. The book tells the story of Fani and Leo, two best friends. Leo is in love with Fani, but Fani only saw Leo as a friend. She only starts realizing that she might like Leo more than a friend once he starts dating another girl. 


A lot of things happen (including Fani almost getting involved with her Biology teacher, but let’s not talk about that) before they finally get together. The sad part is they only kiss and start dating the DAY Fani is moving from Brazil to England to study abroad for a year — and that’s where we cut to book two. 


At least one-third of the book revolves around Fani and her inability to deal with a long-distance relationship. She thinks it’s too sad and unbearable to talk to Leo because she misses him too much. After two weeks in England, she decides to cut her year-long study abroad trip short and come back to Brazil. However, she didn't end up coming back because her boyfriend broke up with her before she could even return.


While reading this I became insanely mad. There is no way someone with a study abroad opportunity would want to come back home because of a boyfriend. This couldn’t happen in real life.


After posting a long rant about it on my private Instagram story, I decided to open Twitter. There, I stumbled upon a girl’s tweet talking about how she declined two scholarships to study in Portugal and one in California because of men. Going back to Instagram, one of my friends responded to my story saying that if he thought the person was meant for them, he wouldn’t study abroad.


The whole situation made me think "Is it smart to refuse a job or decline a study abroad because of a relationship? Would I not have gone study abroad if I were in a relationship?"


I’d like to think I still would have gone abroad even if I was in a relationship. If the person really was my soulmate and the person I am meant to be with, what are a few years of long-distance? On the pessimistic side, there’s the possibility of this person and I breaking up anyway. I can’t imagine how mad I would be if I declined an amazing opportunity for someone that wasn’t worth it. 


Lady Gaga once said, “Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore,” and I live by that.


On the bright side, if the person is meant for you, I believe you can work things out. I understand that for a lot of people that are really in love, long-distance is not ideal. But, I believe if the person is worth it and you have clear plans to be in the same location in the future, long-distance relationships can work. It will require a lot of communication and maturity, but it can work.


I also believe if the person really cares about me and wants the best for me, they wouldn’t want me to decline the amazing opportunity. While studying abroad, you meet people from all over the world and have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a different culture. 


If I had a significant other that wanted to experience something like that, I would support them to the fullest as I hope they would hope they would support me. We can work things out later if we’re meant to be together; we will have a lifetime to enjoy each other’s company. 


Now it’s time to enjoy what your study abroad has to offer you.

Renata is from Amazonas, Brazil, and studies international politics and broadcast journalism at Penn State. Her hobbies include reading and writing, editing pictures, and dancing for fun. She likes to learn new languages, currently speaks four, and is trying to learn a fifth. Fun fact: she wrote a book, but let’s not talk about that.
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