I’m ready for my four-month vacation in Europe, by which I mean my semester studying abroad in Barcelona. There’s exploring the city, experiencing Spanish nightlife, and tasting new cuisine (get at me, tapas) to look forward to. But not only are my close-knit group of friends splitting up this spring, I’m also leaving my boyfriend of almost six months behind in Bloomington, Indiana. I know this may be an overwhelming experience in the beginning, but I’m hoping that doing these five things will at least make the love-life part easier.
Figure out a visit now.
As soon as I was accepted into my study abroad program, I began to look into flights to see if and when my S.O. could come to Barcelona. I learned that this will be doable so long as we plan ahead and leave plenty of time to save up. For example, winter and spring break weeks are popular times, so it’s best to browse early on to avoid a super expensive flight. I used Skiplagged and Student Universe, two discount travel search engines geared at students, and I eventually found a round-trip ticket for $436 during spring break. Now, neither of us has to cough up all the money we made interning last summer.
Send I’m-thinking-of-you reminders.
Love isn’t about material goods, but they are sometimes valuable ways to show emotion. Let’s say you know your partner is going to be up all night writing a term paper. Pre-order a pizza with their favorite toppings. In my college town, there is a cookie delivery service that’s open until 3 a.m. (bless), so I’m planning to send my boyfriend a box of his favorite s’mores cookies with “Good luck! I love you!” written inside the box the night before a big exam. I hope it will remind him that despite being far away, I’m always rooting for him.
Plan your calls.
I’m the kind of person who likes planning and routines, and in this case, I suspect it will work in my favor. I know that with the six-hour time difference, it may be tricky to connect — I’ll be going to sleep before my boyfriend eats dinner — so we’ve reserved windows to FaceTime two to four times per week. Once we get into the swing of things and know our schedules, we’ll adjust and see what works best, but at least we have a starting point.
Make a shared playlist.
Consider it the new-school version of a mix-tape. My boyfriend and I really like rap and EDM, so we are planning to create a collaborative playlist on Spotify. To do it, make a new playlist, hit the “…” next to play, and click on “collaborative.” Once you text the link to your partner, you can both add songs and keep up with each other’s favorite tunes. I, for one, am planning to add “Let’s Go” by Khalid and “Rewind” by Louis Futon, two of our favorite songs right now.
A close friend recently went abroad to Prague while her boyfriend remained in Bloomington, Indiana. She spent the first month crying, at least in part because she missed him, before realizing she was on the trip of a lifetime. This reminded me that staying positive can be hard, and it’s something that takes real effort. I’m going to lean on my strong support system of sorority sisters who are studying in Barcelona with me but also strive to make new friends, including those from other schools. It’ll important to stay busy, because there’s nothing like boredom to send someone (read: me) wallowing in their own feelings.
Best of luck to anyone else who is about to go through this. I suspect it’ll be difficult for all of us, but I’m right here with you.