Cultural Experience | Spain

Cuz You’re There For Me Too: Who to Room with on Study Abroad

Who you decide to live with while studying abroad is a big deal, it can test a friendship or it can create one.

If you are already good friends and decide to live together abroad there’s a chance you could spoil the relationship with too much time together. Alternately, you could choose to live with someone you don’t know very well and then end up hating them and in turn, your experience. These two outcomes however, are very unlikely. With all the adjusting you’ll need to do, a friend is exactly what you’ll need, whether you become friends as your get to know each other or go abroad with an established friend, this person will be with you through the best of times and the hardest of struggles, and if it’s not completely doomed, it will make for a strong or an even stronger friendship. Here are the upsides of both rooming with a friend and someone you don’t know so well from two people who experienced it. 

Rooming with Someone New

I went abroad with a girl I barely knew from school. We both knew that we were going abroad to the same place and since the other girls on the same program had a already matched up and because we had mutual friends, we decided to room together. Today, this girl is my best friend. We’ve been through everything from missing my plane in Copenhagen to her just barely making our plane home. We’ve spent endless hours on cramped buses and we’ve experienced near-death plane rides to and from Paris. We’ve seen each other fall apart when missing home but we’ve also seen each other during the happiest points of our lives thus far.

Casey and I both had a lot to learn coming in to Madrid, we literally sat, defeated by public transportation after only a couple days, talking about how we would never understand our way around. We also had to tackle the obstacle of language together, both of us not really knowing Spanish at all while living in Spain in a Spanish home with a Spanish mother. Not only did we learn (some) Spanish but by the end of our 4 months we could get around without a problem and we learned a ton about one another and bonded over the smallest of things.  What I didn’t realize when I set out on my 4 month adventure is that that is what it’s all about. Not only does it teach you about the things you’re focused on learning, in turn it teaches you about yourself, and those around you, these end up being the most valuable of all. I wouldn’t have changed my roommate for the world, I went abroad with a stranger and came out of it with a sister.



Rooming with a Friend

Isabel Zahn went abroad to Madrid on the same program as Casey and I. Isabel and her roommate of choice, Kara had been friends since freshman year. Going abroad together and rooming together in a Spanish home made them even closer with the many memories they share.

“Living with your best friend abroad comes with so many memories, and overall, leads to having the best experience you could have while living and studying in a foreign country as American 20 year old girls. You always have someone to be there for you, sleepovers every night, and a new family that’s the both of yours to share. You’ll always have someone to get after-class wine on the walk home from school, never have to walk home alone (unless she meets a new foreign, mysterious, Spanish boyfriend). You’ll always have someone to buy cheese and eat it as an early dinner, and then never be alone for the second dinner of home-cooked Spanish food (or Spaghetti). I’m so lucky to have always had her to explore new cities, countries, beaches, and restaurants with, and when we felt a little homesick, to always have her to watch full seasons of Mistresses and Masters of Sex.”



Whether you’re making more memories with people you already know, or building from the ground up, the memories you make abroad are like no other. And let’s face it, good memories are better with a friend!

Paige Gennusa

Franklin & Marshall College | 8 stories

I'm Paige, I'm a Senior Philosophy Major at Franklin & Marshall College, I dance and choreograph for the F&M Dance Company and I'm the PanHellenic Delegate of Chi Omega Sorority. I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain this passed Fall & loved every second of it. I took classes pertaining to Spanish culture through the Syracuse program, joined a Spanish dance studio and traveled around Europe on the weekends.This summer I'm working as an intern for Tahari ASL in New York City.

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