Studying abroad is not for everyone, especially when you have never really been that far from your loved ones. This year I spent a few months away from everything that I have ever known in South Carolina. It was tough, but I got through it!
My internship was with Walt Disney World, and I worked at EPCOT for merchandise. I was so excited for it, and kept telling my friends and family that I was ready to go and would miss them, but would be perfectly okay. I was totally wrong about that, and because I had put on a brave face in the beginning, I never felt like I could come clean about missing them.
For some background information: I lost someone very important to me just a few days before leaving, and my best friend also lost her father. It was so hard realizing that I was going to be leaving her and her family to start a new adventure. My grandmother completely ruined her ankle the day before I left, and I am very close with her, so it was heartbreaking knowing that she was dealing with this injury without me.
So, how did I cope with all of this anxiety at once? I kept in touch with my loved ones. Communication is the most important key to long distance relationships. I called a lot, FaceTimed, sent pictures and videos if I remembered. It was a lot to process. I eventually even had my love bug (dog) Ryder with me, so that made things a thousand percent easier. I know it sounds pretty bland and cliché, but I would not have survived without the phone calls. Just hearing their voices made things better for me.
As far as relationships with significant others, that's a whole other story. Physical touch is not my love language, so being away from a significant other has never been hard for me. It's hard for me to give advice on this just because I didn't necessarily have an S/O while I was in Orlando. In the past when I had to do long distance a few years ago, the best thing was FaceTime. It was nice hearing their voice, seeing their face, and just seeing their surroundings as well. I love facial expressions and I love making others laugh, so being able to see someone's smile makes it all the better.
To sum up everything, communication is 100% key. You cannot expect to have a healthy relationship without communication, whether this is with your family, friends, or a significant other.
I highly recommend studying away from your college campus at some point. It showed me that I am so grateful for the University of South Carolina and my friends, but it also gave me a chance to explore what else there is for me. Stay tuned for when I study abroad in 2022! Italy or Barcelona? I can't decide!