As I prepared for my study abroad semester in London, one of my biggest fears was making friends. I have social anxiety, so approaching new people and making conversations can be a challenge. However, I don’t allow this to set me back; I like to challenge myself and face my anxiety head-on. My sister reminds me, ‘to be unapologetically yourself’, and the right people will gravitate towards you. This is something I try to follow, and since arriving in London the right people definitely came into my life!
When I first arrived, it seemed as though the other study abroad students had already formed their own cliques. This added to the intimidation; now instead of introducing myself to one person, it was to a small group. I knew I couldn’t keep to myself, so I dove head first and introduced myself to a group of girls, even though I felt incredibly awkward. This particular group of girls was the most welcoming people I have ever met and as soon as we started to all talk, we hit it off! Our now group of five, myself included, call ourselves the “Spice Girls.”
Our study abroad experience has created a unique bond; we go out together exploring London and have recently visited Paris. It is unbelievable how studying abroad brought us all together when we all live so far apart from one another at our home universities. We have laughed, cried, and shared hardships, but at the end of the day, this has strengthened our relationships. I have learned so much from these four incredible women and they have helped me grow as an individual. I admire them immensely. Whenever I am stressed or overwhelmed, they help me ground myself and put me in better spirits. I couldn’t have asked for better friends. We are quite the group, and I can honestly say, I hope that when we return back to our home universities our friendships continue long into the future!