Finally, it is the perfect time of year to be single. Couples can have Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. Summer is for single girls. Each summer you should try to pick one thing to focus your energy on, whether it’s taking a class, or getting a part-time job. Just do something to keep your mom from worrying that you might actually have alcoholism. Of course, though, the best option is to study abroad.
For those of you packing your bags right now and preparing to go overseas, get excited. You are going to have a great time. Just expect that it will be nothing like you expect. It will be the best time of your life, but it will be like freshman year in the dorms on crack. I have a few universal pieces of advice for you that I could have used before making my trip, though. I hope they find you well.
1. Don’t bring a hairdryer or straightener.
Seriously. I blew my ceramic flat-iron out on the first day and it wasn’t worth it. I know it’s a foreign country, but they sell straighteners there too. Just do your hair right before you get on the plane and bring some dry shampoo to hold you over until you find some new supplies.
2. Don’t overpack.
The girl who shows up with three checked bags will be judged heavily. Don’t be her. Besides, you’re going to be doing so much shopping when you’re over there, you don’t need to bring too much. When I was abroad, I had to purchase a new piece of luggage on my last day because I couldn’t fit everything I’d purchased in the suitcase I’d come with.
3. Prepare to go wavy if you have a weekend in another country.
European outlets just suck. When you leave one European country, the straightener you bought there won’t work in another. I broke the adapter that belonged to the guy I was hooking up with, and it was embarrassing. You can use some product and go more natural for the weekend.
4. Win the 4th of July.
Bring America-themed clothing and go all out. Nothing brings about patriotism like being away from your country. You should probably pace yourself, though. Don’t start drinking before noon, switch from wine to vodka before 2, explore the city, plank on public transportation, publicly make out with a guy from your trip in front of everyone in the middle of the bar, then roll into class an hour late the next day because you decided perfect hair and makeup could hide the shame. Or do. Just sit behind that guy so he can’t see how much you’re struggling.
5. Download GroupMe.
The free group messaging app is perfect when you’re abroad. You can easily communicate with all of your friends back home, keeping them updated on all of your foreign adventures, without racking up roaming charges, which means you have more of Daddy’s money to spend on important things like clothes.
6. Break up with your boyfriend before you go.
I could draw a web of all the people who hooked up in my study abroad group. A lot of them had boyfriends or girlfriends. Getting tested should be a requirement to reenter The States after you’re abroad. I don’t know whether it’s the morally casual European mindset, the romance of the cities, the fact that you’re drunk every night, or the “different zip code” rule, but a lot of shit goes down when you’re abroad. So do a lot of people. I’m not saying you’re going to cheat, but you will. It will be way easier to work things out if you were “on a break” during your indiscretion.
7. Take cheesy tourist pictures.
It will get embarrassing, especially once you’ve been there for awhile, but you don’t know when, if ever, you’ll be in the same place again. Don’t worry about what anyone is thinking, and don’t hold back. You’ll regret it.
8. DO NOT develop feelings for a boy.
This one is the most important, but the easiest to lose sight of. Romance abroad is what I imagine life to be like if you’re on The Bachelor. You are in a foreign country doing nothing but eating and drinking in good company, so it’s easy to forget about reality. What would be classified as shacking at home seems different. You are doing cute activities all the time, and have developed a routine together that is easy to get caught up in. Just remember, that no matter how wonderful it seems, there is a timestamp on this romance. If you get too involved, it will only complicate things once you come home. Beware.
I am literally so jealous of everyone who still has this experience to look forward to. You are about to learn why studying abroad is meant for the single girl. I hope you have the most amazing time, ever. Cherish it!