When I decided to study abroad for six weeks, one aspect I forgot to think about and what I feel no one mentioned was the fact that I would most likely have roommates. While I have had roommates in a dorm and my sorority house, having a roommate that you have never met, in a foreign country, in a European apartment (which are much smaller than American apartments) can be slightly intimidating and maybe a bit overwhelming. So, here are a few tips that I thought were useful as I progressed through my first few days in Florence.
- After introducing yourself and getting to know a little about your roommate, have an open, honest conversation about what you expect of the next few weeks and any pet peeves you may have. By doing this soon, you get the awkward out of the way and can focus on enjoying your time in your new home.
- Don’t feel like you have to do every single thing your roommates do. If you are exhausted after your long flight in, but they want to go out, you can say no. Or if you don’t want to spend money eating out at the restaurant because you’d rather have money to travel, that is okay too. Your roommates will completely understand.
- You and your study abroad roommates are going through the same experience at the same time as you. Lean on them, whether for problems with culture shock, homesickness, or when you need someone for the buddy system because you want to get gelato at 10 P.M. They are most likely experiencing the same feelings you are and can help talk you through those issues.
- Lastly, you may end up finding your long lost best friend in these new roommates or just get along with them. Either scenario is okay. Don’t put too many expectations on yourself or them to be besties right off the bat.
These are not hard and fast rules by any means, but just some general advice that I believe can help. So, until next time!