Why It’s a Good Idea to be Single While Studying Abroad

I had always dreamed of living abroad in London, so I planned my first meeting with a study abroad coordinator during the Fall semester before the summer study abroad session. In the first discussion with my study abroad adviser we talked about the atmosphere in London, my future internship, the classes I would be taking and other activities I should take advantage of while abroad. There was one subject in particular that my study abroad adviser had with each student she advised. She explained to each of us the importance of studying abroad while single. She told me that studying abroad and immersing oneself into a new culture is a life-changing experience that you aren’t able to take full advantage of while in a relationship because you won’t be able to let go of what you left behind in America for the summer. I decided to take her advice and not get into a relationship prior to my study abroad experience. Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea to study abroad single.

Nobody is holding you back
When you’re dating someone, there will always be that thought at the back of your head: “What would they think about me doing this?” Whether it be something adventurous like bungee jumping, trying a new exotic food or talking to some nice guys while out on a walk around the city or on a bar crawl, that thought would always be lingering. When you’re single, you don’t have to think about any of these things. You only have to worry about yourself and whether or not you want to be doing those things. You can explore what you want to explore, feel the adrenaline rush as you try something new or meet whoever you feel like meeting and spending time with. Many of the people with significant others back home would get really worried about them because they would get jealous.

The world is yours
Of course your parents are always going to worry about where you are and what you are doing. That’s usually a given. But an overprotective significant other who doesn’t want you traveling alone isn’t something you want to deal with. When you’re single, you can book last-minute travel plans to any country and go with only your sense of adventure to worry about. The world is yours to explore and yours to fall in love with. This is the time when many people on study abroad trips claim to find themselves, and this is how I found myself. Throughout all of the traveling I did, I made many friends living in all different countries. As I learned about different cultures and lifestyles I knew that my heart belonged to the world and I would never again be the same. I may not have been able to let go so freely of everything had I been in a relationship.

You won’t have to worry about anyone else
The people who lived with me in my flat that did have significant others back home definitely experienced challenges. One of the girls would stay up late at night sitting on the stairwell either fighting with her boyfriend or sobbing for hours because of the stress involved in a long-distance relationship. One of the boys with a girlfriend would sit at the kitchen table until 5 a.m. some nights to talk to his girlfriend every single day. Neither looked like a desirable situation to me.

You don’t have to worry about cheating
Sadly, the majority of the guys in my study abroad program cheated on their girlfriends — not all of them, but definitely the majority. A few of the girls also cheated on their boyfriends. Most of the girls stayed faithful, but that isn’t to say that it came without its challenges. I lived in London with an extremely gossipy group, so whenever anyone cheated, we basically all knew about it the next day. On the other hand, there’s always the possibility that the person you are dating back home will become lonely and decide to cheat when given the opportunity. When you're living abroad single, you won’t have to ever worry about the word “cheating.”

There's the possibility of romance with a local
While I was in London I decided to download Tinder on my phone, as I wanted to get an authentic British experience and go places that tourists wouldn’t be roaming about. I wanted to be one with the city. I began talking to one guy — a really cute, sweet soccer player. We ended up exploring Hyde Park together and sitting and talking to one another for hours. He and I dated throughout the summer; we’d go out to lunches, dinners, to walk his dog, out to fancy places for drinks and I even met his mother multiple times. Another one of my friends saw how happy I was and decided to try out London Tinder for herself. She met a great guy who she had a ton in common with and he took her to really fun places like an English amusement park. Summer romances are fun, different and definitely worth a try if you are up for them!

If you are planning on studying abroad this summer and are currently dating someone, seriously take into consideration whether or not you are honestly going to marry that person one day because if you are not it’s probably a good idea to break up or at least take a break for the summer. I found myself while living abroad, and I am so glad that I did it all on my own. London has changed me for the better, and I hope that studying abroad will do the same thing to you.

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