How Not To Annoy Your Friends When You Come Back From Abroad

Emily Friedman

If you were lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad, congratulations! I’m sure your semester was full of traveling, eating, partying, and maybe even some studying. Readjusting to Cornell after such an exciting semester can be challenging. Having just come back from a semester abroad, I have learned first hand how post-abroad tendencies can irritate the people around you. Here are some tips to help you adjust to post-abroad life without annoying all of your friends.

Do: continue to practice your new language skills

Don’t: speak to your friends in French/Spanish/Italian even though you know they cannot understand it.


It is an impressive feat to become fluent in a second language. However, just because you speak Italian now doesn’t mean everyone else does too. I’m not going to be able to understand the “super interesting” story you are telling me about that “super cool” thing you did while you were abroad unless you tell it to me in a language I can understand. Tu parle Francais?


Do: share some cool pictures on social media.


Don’t: post 50000 pictures and then CONTINUE to post pictures from abroad after getting back.


Oversharing on social media is always annoying. Stick to posting a few of your favorite pictures instead of instagramming your every move. Your “tbts” and “take me back photos” are most likely going to be met with eyerolls, not likes.

Do: come back refreshed and ready to get back to work

Don’t: cry about going to the library because you forgot how school works


Your friends who were working hard all semester probably won’t appreciate you complaining about how hard your life is because your time abroad was just too relaxing. Your transition back to the Cornell routine will go a lot more smoothly if you don’t drag your feet.

Do: express interest in activities you picked up overseas

Don’t: pretend you are an art connoisseur because you took a selfie in a museum one time.

Studying abroad is a great way to expand your horizons, take time to learn about cultures, and see some great works of art in person. But if you power-walked through the museums just for the photo-op, do not act as if you are now an expert in 16th century Italian art. Especially if you’re talking to an artist or someone who has taken an actual art history class.

Do: ask your friends what is new in their lives

Don’t: assume that anyone who didn’t go abroad must have had a miserable semester  





As hard as it is to believe, life in America went on without you! Even though life at home might not have involved jet-setting to exotic places, a lot might have happened while you were gone. In between telling them all about your time abroad and facetiming with your new abroad friends, don’t forget to check in with your friends too.


Do: tell a few funny, interesting stories from your travels

Don’t: start every sentence with “when I was abroad….” 


People are (or will pretend to be) interested in your tales from abroad- up to a point. But please stop trying to connect every conversation back to some not really relevant thing that you did while you were abroad.


Studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime. Reverse culture shock is definitely a thing, and it can be hard to transition back to college life. You might miss your abroad friends and abroad lifestyle a lot, and it can be tempting to talk about how great abroad was all the time. But keep in mind, not everyone had the opportunity/wanted to go abroad. And no one wants to hear you talk about it all the time.