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. Continue Reading

Blog Goes Abroad: Wait, I have to be a real person?

Paris Ana

Other than checking my Bank of America statements online, I don’t really get many reality checks abroad. I go about my days eating bread, drinking wine, and watching non-French TV on non-French websites. It’s a simple life, really. Until I go on Facebook, and read about so-and-so’s internship in New York/D.C./San Francisco this summer. I scoff, take another swig of wine, and think, “Ha. Internships.”

And then I think, “Shit. Internships.” The most dreaded yet sought after word in a college student’s vocabulary. I thought studying abroad would allow me to disconnect myself from the stress of on-campus life (i.e. conversations in the Blue Room about interviews on Wall Street; “daddy’s friend” helping someone out during the job search; the endless stream of Career Lab e-mails). Instead, I get brief but painful reminders that I’m graduating next May and will be forced to become a real person, and it’s terrifying. Continue Reading

Blog Goes Abroad: First day of school


February 4th, 2013: First day of school on another continent.

Yes, I know it’s ridiculous that I’m starting school so late. I’ve been in Europe for almost a month, and this is the first time I have to set an alarm. I snooze it three times before I manage to get up from my bed. That’s when it hits me: so many things can go wrong today.

To calm my nerves, I made a list:

  1. I have no idea what the professor is saying to the class/me.
  2. I have no idea what the other students are saying to the professor/each other.
  3. I understand enough to know that I have a 15-page paper, oral presentation, midterm, and exam, on top of being in class with people I don’t understand.
  4. I took the train in the wrong direction, and I am now alone on the metro car with an old man yelling things at me that I don’t understand.

I put on my big girl pants, down an espresso, and text the only other Brown student that’s supposed to go to this class. I passive-aggressively tell her, “Leaving my apartment! Don’t be late.” But passive-aggressive texting is a dying art, and I’m left loitering in front of a building for 20 minutes. Thanks, friend. Continue Reading