Cultural Experience | Resources

5 Reasons to Study Abroad with your Significant Other

Study abroad is meant to be one of the most defining, influential, and liberating experiences of undergrad, but what happens if you bring your S.O. along for the ride?

Being in a relationship in college can be difficult at times, especially when those tough times involve several months of playing the long-distance game, whether it is across cities, states, or continents.

As it becomes increasingly popular to study abroad, this game gets harder as couples find themselves in different time zones with varying class schedules, struggling to keep in contact and missing out on incredible experiences because they chose to stick around their apartment for a Skype date instead of going out and exploring their new country.

This is not to cast blame on couples that study abroad separately. It really is incredibly draining to be away from your other half for long periods of time, regardless of your age or how long the two of you have been together. Sometimes the best solution when feeling the long-distance blues or a bad case of culture shock is to check in and catch up with the one who knows you best.

But how do you avoid feeling held back from being fully present while studying abroad because of a long-distance relationship? Do you take a break? Call it quits?

Here’s a better solution: go abroad together.

study abroad with your significant other

Before you write off this option altogether, just think about it. If you’re in a great relationship and you both want to travel, why create an unnecessary strain by separating? Compromise on a location and sign up together. You may get some weird reactions from friends and family, but don’t let this bother you. You are both about to have the time or your life.

If this idea sounds like a disaster to you and you don’t think that your relationship would last five minutes in an unfamiliar environment, then by all means, ignore this advice and maybe reevaluate a few things in your life.

But if your relationship can be characterized by having great communication, being constantly supportive of one another, and being being flexible, adaptable, and patient in strange situations, then this just might be the perfect choice for you. It may take more effort than a relationship usually requires at home, but the benefits will greatly outweigh the costs when you realize that you don’t have to wait to tell your S.O. the stories of your adventures abroad—they will be living them with you.

Here are just a few great reasons why being abroad with your person is the best choice to make:

1. Get know each other in a totally new setting. Being in a new city with new activities, customs, buildings, and foods, you will constantly be put outside of your comfort zone, and each of you may react differently to it. See what your S.O. is like when they are stumbling over their words in a foreign language, and help them if your skills are a little bit more up to par. Let them see you outside your element zip lining through the jungle or hailing a taxi in the big city. You will surprise each other and appreciate each other even more for the new things you will learn about each others passions and abilities.

2. Always had someone to fall back on. When the stress of being abroad gets rough, it is so great having the person who knows you best around when you’re feeling down. Studying abroad is usually a several-month-long endeavor, and just like being at home, its not always sunshine and fantastic new experiences. There are highs and lows, but with your S.O. by your side, those things will be easier to deal with because you will always have a familiar face when you are dealing with being in a strange and new place.

3. Have an incredible bonding experience. How many couples can say that they studied abroad together, saw bad foreign-language movies together, drank too much wine at a vineyard together, visited multiple national parks together, spontaneously explored a new city together, skipped a flight together, or backpacked for a month together? It will make you closer than you ever thought possible. From him sticking by each others sides in sickness and in health, during adventure and during the study session doldrums, you will return from your study abroad experience having gone through a relationship boot camp and you will understand and be comfortable with each other on a very deep level.

4. You will always have someone to go on weekend trips with. Split meals with, have coffee with, hang out in the park with, volunteer with, and explore with. You can help each other make friends, hold each other’s hands on those nerve-wracking weekend flight.

5. Help each other deal with reverse culture shock. You won’t feel as isolated from family and friends when you get back, because you will always have someone to relive the adventures with and who understood what it was like to be abroad. The stories you tell together will be far better than the ones you would tell if you had spent those months apart, connected only by Skype and a spotty wifi signal, missing each other and wishing you had made the decision to spend your experience abroad together.

If you and your S.O. have a good relationship and are considering it at all, forget what other people think and just dive right in. There’s nothing better than studying abroad with your significant other.

Molly Green

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities | 3 stories

Molly Green is a senior at the University of Minnesota working towards a degree in Global Studies, which she hopes will allow her to see the world. She spent the Summer of 2014 in Ecuador and the Spring of 2015 in Argentina, and backpacked throughout many of the South American countries in between. When she isn't working on her personal travel blog,, she is reading, taking pictures, or planning her upcoming adventures. Follow her on Instagram at @mollyontheroad!

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