From Strangers to Life-Long Friends

Life-long friends

From Strangers to Life-Long Friends

Participating in a study abroad program sets college students apart from the rest in more ways than you think. Did you know that under 5% of college students commit to studying abroad? This is not only a huge advantage to your future careers but to your future self socially. It not only helps you become more comfortable in social settings with people you don’t know but also with the social settings in foreign atmospheres.

When I first went abroad, I wasn’t too worried about meeting new people, I have always been a social kind of person when it came to meeting new people. But what I didn’t expect was the everlasting bond that I made with the people I met from this trip that I will never forget the rest of my life. Not only did I make connections in a business aspect, but friends I can recollect my adventures with the rest of my life.

When you first decide to set out on your trip with IBS, there will most likely be a couple of people from your very own university that will be joining you as well. Whether that maybe your best friend that you convinced to come with you or a student you may have never noticed you took a class with. No matter who they are, they become your first rock on this journey. They’re the reminder of your home and they help with easing the nerves before your departure.

my new life-long friends
Once the trip begins, you all normally arrive within the same time period. I remember we were all a little antsy and a little slap happy from the jet lag. But the best advice I can give you is to talk to the person to the left and right of you the minute you meet them. That’s honestly how I met my friends on this trip. We all just started chatting and said, “Hey let’s go get some food once the ice breakers are done.” From that moment, we were inseparable the entire trip.

Something I didn’t know about this trip when I researched it and began to prepare, is you don’t really think about just how much time you truly spend with everyone. Whether it’s on one of our company visits, exploring the areas, or traveling on the coach bus, we are always together. This created a bond with them that I never expected to come about.

Some of my favorite memories that I had with my friends were honestly the first couple of days. I remember we all decided to relax the first night in the hotel lobby and as the night went on, more and more of us began to pull up seats until almost all 42 of us took over the entire lobby. We told stories about who we are, what we were doing in school, and told stories about where we are from. Learning about each other made it even better for all of the adventures that we took throughout the entire trip. Whether it was exploring the Austrian Alps, drinking wine on a gondola ride in Venice, or laying in the grass under the Eiffel Tower, we were always together making memories together.

Stangers to Life-long Friends
One thing that we all repeatedly said the entire trip was this, “I don’t remember the last time I laughed and smiled like I have on this trip.” That’s all thanks to IBS for creating such an incredible program dedicated to finding students looking to expand their horizons in more ways than one. That is what makes IBS stand out among the rest, they help with creating friendships that will last a lifetime by helping us create unforgettable memories.

Looking back on it now, I think the reason that we all got along so well is the fact that we all we so similar. IBS brings together students that are curious to expand their business experiences, looking to explore the world, and not afraid to take chances.

Ever since returning home, we all went our separate ways and back to our normal lives. A lot of us jumping into busy summers of internships and summer classes. But I can guarantee one thing, we all still stay in touch on a weekly basis sending pictures back and for reminiscing about all of the fun we were having a few short months ago. I truly never thought these complete strangers would become such a huge part of my life after this trip. They are the reason I took chances and did as much as I did plus more. I wouldn’t trade them for the world! We’re already trying to plan our next trip altogether!

Shea Stanley
Shea Stanley

School: Northern Illinois University

While being abroad, I learned just how big and beautiful this world truly is.

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