21 Ways To Help 20-Somethings Survive Studying Abroad


1. Freak out about what all can go wrong. Look up tips to avoid theft and pickpocketing. Buy one of those tacky “theft proof” purses (hint…they aren’t special) and ditch it on your first day because you think it’s ugly.

2. When you arrive after a daze of an overnight flight, ditch your bags and open your window. Before you do anything, stand on the railing of the balcony and lean out of your window like nothing can stop you.

3. Hop on the metro for the first time and feel like you’re going to cry from the crowded strangers in your face combined with the complete lack of ability to navigate this hellhole. In approximately three days you will be hopping on and off of trains like a pro.

4. Let your girlfriends convince you to buy a pair of heels a size and a half too small for you so you can be accepted in the club. Wear them once and pledge never again.

5. Throw any conception of including whole grains in your diet as you down half of a baguette on your way home from the bakery.

6. Make eye contact with the first guy you see at the bar. Let him make out with you before you get his name.

7. When he buys you a drink, try not to laugh when he says, “Sex on a beach.” He will ask you for your number and you’ll give it to him.

8. Find out he’s ten years older than you and bail on the first date because you were scared. Constantly doubt yourself that this could have been the romance you were dreaming about.

9. Drink a whole bottle of wine on the way to the bar. Make eye contact with the first boy who checks you out. Let him put a cigarette between your fingers and smoke one for the first time in your life.

10. When your favorite Talking Heads song comes on, lock eyes with the cutie near you. Press your mouth onto his ear and whisper the words. Have the most memorable make out session of your life.

11. Make your friend act as translator. Get his number in the bathroom. Spend an hour trying to word a text only to have your phone refuse to deliver it.

12. Wear those fucking heels again even though you swore it off.

13. Smoke another cigarette again even though you swore it off.

14. Let your guard down. Make friends with the boys who sit next to you by the river. Let them kiss you on both cheeks as they leave.

15. Abandon everyone and explore for a day, taking in all of the art and food you could possibly imagine.

16. Go to the Pompier’s Ball and keep an eye out for a cute firefighter. As one pulls you close, throw your heels at your friend.

17. Dance and make out with what would be a total token hookup, but refuse his offer to take you back to his firefighter room.


19. Spend the last week refusing to believe it’s over. Eat enough brie to fuel a village and put off packing.

20. On the last night stand in your balcony and cry as you look out of the window one last time. Play Leaving on a Jetplane for good measure.

21. As you head to the airport at the crack of dawn, tear up as you see the Eiffel Tower backlit by the sunrise in the distance. Acknowledge that no moment in your life will ever be as beautiful as this.