Studying Abroad: How a City Became My Significant Other

“Studying abroad is great," they’ll tell you. “Studying abroad is a wondrous experience you’ll never forget!” they will say. What they won’t tell you is that studying abroad is a lot like falling in love, and then having your heart ripped out from your body. They won’t tell you that if you are anything like me, you will feel like you are in a relationship with a city, and it will be the best relationship you will ever have.

Courtesy of Victoria Tripsas

Courtesy of Victoria Tripsas

His name was London. He was charming in every way possible, he was lovely, he was wild, he was mysterious and he swept me off of my feet in a matter of days. Our love was quick, but passionate. Short, but strong. I was always a cynic when it came to love at first sight, yet here I was, drooling with a dancing heart the second I laid eyes on him. It could have been the fact that he was filled with endless possibility and adventure- never dull, never boring. Or how jaw-droppingly stunning he looked, especially after hours. Either way, I was his.

London was the boyfriend who tempted you to hangout when you knew you should be studying. The pile of books in front of you seemed pretty meaningless when you looked outside the window and saw London out there pleading, “Pleaseeeee, come with me, come play! Forget your workkk!” London was a professional in the art of seduction, and, of course, it worked everytime.

After long trips away, London was the boyfriend who awaited my return,  welcoming me back each time with eager arms. Don’t get me wrong. Other places were great, magical even, but the sweet comfort of London pulled me in further every time. I swear, I fell deeper and deeper in love with London each time I came back.

For the duration of the semester I found myself getting lost in his heart. He fed me well and kept me entertained. What else could I have asked for?

As the semester winded down, the split was inevitable. I had to go back to America, and as much as I would have liked him to move with me, it wasn’t a realistic possibility. Instead, I tried to savor each moment and relish the pleasure he brought me. Our day-long adventure dates, allowed me to explore new parts of him I never even knew were there. I saw the good, the ugly and the darker side of him at times, yet I was still sold.

I guess you could say London and I were one of the luckier couples. We were the ones who cut loose while on top, that end on a high note instead of burning out and crashing. It never turned sour. We never lost feeling. Our time was short, but I never got sick of him. Although I miss London, I will always have that picture perfect image of us framed in my mind.

I know now there are tons of others who have since had similar affairs with him, and while I’m jealous, I’m okay with that. He’s one hell of a lover and everyone should get to experience him.

They won’t tell you that you’ll fall in love with an inanimate place when you study abroad. That you’ll wake up one day realizing you are insane and convinced you are dating a city. That leaving the city will feel much like a horrific breakup, a love story ended prematurely. But, it's okay. They won’t tell you all this because you will figure it out for yourself, and then it will all make sense.