Tips and tricks for when you are traveling in a group. International travel is one of those things that can make or break friendships. I chose to study abroad in Cork, Ireland with three of my closest college friends and roommates. While making this decision, I expressed my concern about going abroad with my best friends. I looked at going abroad for a semester as an opportunity to be completely independent from everything that I found comfort in. I was excited to find my own way in a foreign culture. Being with my best friends, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to work. Instead of looking at the upcoming experience in a negative light, I started to welcome the idea of sharing something so special with the people dearest to me. Together, we were able to explore Ireland as well as many places throughout Europe. My time spent abroad with my best friends was something that I might not ever be able to do again. As smoothly as our adventure did go, here are some things to keep in mind when traveling with others.
Here are my best Tips & Tricks
- Eat and drink water! Whenever you start to feel grumpy after a long day of traveling or exploring a new city, be sure to have a meal and drink plenty of water. This is advice that my parents gave to me before I left and I found invaluable during my time abroad. Being hangry is a very real thing!
- Make sure that you have an idea of what everyone in your group wants to accomplish when you are in a new city. There are always people who would prefer to go with the flow and then others who live by a list of what they want to do and see. Try to come to some sort of compromise. Compile a list of activities that the whole group would like to do and then sort through what others are gung-ho about or what they could live without.
- Don’t be afraid to get away from the group! If there is something that you are dying to do and you feel comfortable going by yourself, then go do it. I was able to spend a few days in Italy by myself and I can’t express how wonderful of an experience it was.
- Find solace in each other when you start to feel homesick. Missing home is inevitable when an ocean separates you from your family and everything familiar to you. Having my friends was like having a home away from home. Every once in a while I needed to complain about Ireland just because it was different or talk about just how much I missed Panera. It is so nice to be able to share these feelings with people who you know are experiencing the same things.
Every now and then my friends and I look back at all the photos and videos we took and think “wow”. It’s crazy to think about how much we experienced together and how much we overcame. New languages, food, airports… so many airports! I am so thankful that we got to share an adventure and I know we will always look back on our semester as one of the best times of our lives. We’re known in the CIE office as the Cork girls, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
|Isabelle Perrin firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology Major Linguistics Minor
University College Cork, Ireland