Blog Goes Abroad: What actually constitutes an #abroadproblem

(BlogDH) Study Abroad

It’s been three months since I got to Europe, and I have two months to go. While I feel I’ve been getting the hang of this whole living abroad thing, I consciously try to not let my head get so big as to annoy the hell out of my friends on campus. Because let’s be real… some kids can go a little overboard with their oversharing on Facebook and Twitter while abroad. A lot of the times they try to justify their humblebrags by tagging whatever they post with #abroadproblems. But #abroadproblems isn’t a scapegoat, and it certainly doesn’t give you permission to show off how ~fabulous~ your life is. Here are things that are not problems:

“Ugh I hate airport lines. But going to Rome! #abroadproblems!”
Ah, the classic #humblebrag. Being drunk at an airport sucks, especially when TSA is in a foreign language and they’ve just started yelling at you for some inexplicable reason. But the privilege of traveling is the polar opposite of a problem. So kindly omit the hashtag, and make your way through security, s’il vous plaît.

“Changing your profile picture weekly. #abroadproblems”
Studying abroad means taking pictures of any and every menial thing you do/eat. That’s a given. (Confession: my Instagram feed is now 70% food, and I’m not about to stop.) But if you’re constantly updating your social networks, you musn’t be doing anything too interesting. Plus, there’s no need to document every time you go to the Eiffel Tower/Tower of Pisa/Tower Bridge/any other European Tower.

“Waiting for the first metro train at 5 a.m… Whoops. #abroadproblems”
I get it. You party. Things stay open after 2 a.m. outside of Providence, so YOLO!!! (or something like that). However, the cool factor of partying ’til the wee hours is cancelled out by your need to inform all of your Facebook friends of your crazyyy lifestyle. And you know what, I got wine drunk and watched the first season of 30 Rock in my apartment, so THERE! But seriously, if you’re really having the time of your life, staying out till the wee hours, all the power to ya. Just don’t remind me how I don’t act my age or whatever.

“Why is Starbucks so EXPENSIVE here?! #abroadproblems”
This. Okay. I don’t blame you for going to Starbucks while abroad— we all get homesick, and their WiFi is free and decent. However, if you get a venti soy iced Chai Tea latte and are appalled when it’s the same price as in the States but in euros, maybe you need to look at your life, look at your choices, and suck it up and drink an espresso.

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I must confess, I, too, am occasionally guilty of using and abusing #abroadproblems to complain brag about the high quality baguettes and coffee. But not all #abroadproblems are completely unfounded. There are things I miss and will not have access to until I return stateside, namely my Netflix account and homemade Puerto Rican food. More generally, here are some real #abroadproblems I’ve come to face….

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Having to commute for an hour to class, instead of rolling out of bed at 9:40 and making it to Salomon at 10 a.m.
I solemnly swear I will never, ever complain about the slightly uphill walk from New Dorm to J. Walter Wilson ever again.*
*Author’s note: I will probably start complaining two weeks after Shopping Period, so please don’t hold me to this.

Second semester senior friends graduating.
One of the hardest parts of going abroad was having to give my friends hugs that will last them the 6 months I wouldn’t see them for. Harder still was convincing my senior friends how important it was to me to say goodbye to them, as I couldn’t count on running into them at Blue State in the fall. Back in December, the whole “final goodbye” thing wasn’t on their minds, so there were people I couldn’t see before I got on a plane and they walked through the Gates. Commencement Week is going to roll around, and I’ll still be here, wishing I was there to see them off.

Not knowing when preregistration is.
As a rising senior, fall preregistration is kind of a big deal. However, it’s dangerously tempting to not check my Brown e-mail. Morning Mail has remained unopened in my inbox for a couple of months now, depriving me not only of my free food digest but also important dates… such as when rising seniors have to register. I know have a sticky note on my desktop with APRIL 16th written in bold, black letters. It is my year to take Creative Nonfiction. My. Year.

Missing out on the beautiful Providence weather when it’s still 40 and miserable in Europe.
Confession: I have so little faith in Providence weather, that one of the deciding factors of me studying abroad in the spring instead of fall was to avoid the slushy terribleness that is spring in Providence. Well… the joke’s on me.

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