Making a best friend abroad
I made a best friend abroad, and I wasn’t expecting it either. And she didn’t arrive until I was in the last month of my abroad experience in Siena.
Home, for her, is on the other side of the United States from myself. She speaks three languages fluently (French, Russian, English, and quickly learned Italian too!) and is a biology major. On the surface, we didn’t seem to have very much in common.
Only on the surface, however.
Chloe is a traveler through and through. She was quite enthusiastic when we first met-- ready to do and see everything in Italy. I remembered how I shared that excitement at the beginning of my trip as well, and I felt excitement for her.
I first crossed paths with Chloe when I returned from my spring break in Sicily, as the University of Oregon students moved into the vacant rooms in the apartment during the week that us UMass students were gone. It was the first time I had interacted with Americans in 3 months, and to be honest, our little group of 5 wasn’t so thrilled at the idea of not being the only Americans anymore. We were comfortable with our living situations and weren’t sure how this new group would affect that.
Like I said, I first met Chloe when I returned, and we quickly bonded over the fact that she was determined to keep up with her blog during her trip. She was so eager, telling me about her blog and about her studies and I completely fed off her excitement. I did warn her about the difficulties of keeping a blog updated while abroad, and how it can cause unnecessary guilt or frustration when pushed aside. I suggested that her time abroad would be better spent exploring rather than hunched over a laptop. (I also warned her about the wifi being public enemy #1.)
Chloe and I began spending more time together, along with the rest of the UOregon group. We cooked meals together, grabbed coffee, studied and went out together. She and I discovered many commonalities between us which brought us together-- we both love to write, have an obsession with Italian culture and lifestyle, and grew up in a non-traditional European/American households. In the short month we spent getting to know each other, we were able to forge a strong friendship.
Some of our adventures including Siena, Naples, Siracusa, and beyond!
I really didn’t intend to make a friend at that point in my abroad experience, as I was gearing up to leave (or so I thought) but I am so glad that I did because in the following months that we kept in touch, we had some crazy adventures! Between frolicking through Siracusa, Sicily; taking an 8 hour bus from Catania to Salerno; exploring the Amalfi Coast; and eating our way through Naples, we really took the world by storm. We even coordinated to meet and attend the Women’s March on Washington together in D.C. this past January, which was an incredible experience as well.
Making a best friend abroad is special, because you are thrown into insane situations together where you normally wouldn’t be with friends back at home. Especially when studying abroad in a non-English speaking country, we bonded even more considering we were both working together to learn the language and immerse ourselves, which is easier to do with a friend by your side. I’m so grateful to have made a best friend abroad, it truly made all the difference in the world.
P.S. I will be leaving this Sunday to visit Chloe in California for our spring breaks, adding to our traveling experiences and shenanigans! It will be my first ever visit to the West Coast, and I'm sure she’ll be an amazing tour guide. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my domestic adventure here!