Meaningful friendship abroad, how can I get one? How can I make it last?

How can I get meaningful Friendships abroad? Tricky question, there is no “How to Make a Lifelong Friend 101” course online, and yes, I did check that myself. If you are an international student at BHSU, this article is merely a guide to increase your chances of being surrounded by people who understand you on a deeper level. 

First, if you are of an introverted nature, I know you will be tempted to ignore this guide and cast it away. I get it. I am an introvert myself and loathe all exercises that pressure me to mingle with people. But it must be done! Meeting people, greeting people, sitting down, and having conversations with them, you will be surprised at how it can go smoothly with some, and unbelievably awkward with others, but I've honestly had very few awkward encounters while I was staying in BHSU. 

The US education system grants you the luxury of choosing your own courses, so make sure, in addition to your academic degree courses, that you add some electives that appeal to your hobbies and passions. It helps your well-being and your mental peace to practice something you love, like writing, acting, debating, or whatever floats your boat. In those courses you will find like-minded people, or at least people who share your same interests. it is much easier to make a friend that you have something in common with. And there are always various and diverse clubs and associations on campus that you might consider. Anything to not isolate yourself and find some sense of belonging that you will be lacking by moving abroad. 

And the most important thing, if you plan to have friends and keep them around, you better be ready for some active listening and engaging in meaningful conversations, not just small talk. Of course, you do not have to do that with everyone>You can set boundaries and that is okay. Also, Spearfish, SD has been such a kind place to me with its’ midwestern kindness and endearing accent.  

In summary, building and maintaining deep, meaningful relationships requires active effort and communication. However you have to prioritize and respect your own boundaries and limitations. I would not worry much about it since you will be well surrounded by the kindest humans at BHSU, and you will find the best of the resources ready for you to use to your own benefit anytime you want.