The 10 struggles of having international friends

Dec 13, 2018 | Expatriation, Travel

After doing an internship abroad or staying in another country for your studies, you probably will have collected a considerable number of friends, who are not from your home country. That is great! No, in fact it’s amazing! You have many advantages due to such international friendships. But, there is also a downside! In the following article we’ll show you the 10 biggest struggles you’ll face when having international friends.

Struggles having international friends

1. Some jokes only work in your native language

Humor is the key to personal relationships and many friendships started or even only consist in two people telling jokes. But humor also differs from culture to culture. What for the British may be funny, for the Greek could be offensive. So sometimes you have to be carefully, when making a joke with your foreign friends.
And who didn’t at least once hear the request “tell us a joke from your country”? But that is not as easy as it seems. You have to translate it first of all, which might be already a challenge depending on your language skills. And then there is another problem: many jokes depend on wordplays and these can’t be translated. So even though you want your new friends to hear a local joke, it’s sometimes impossible for them to get it.  

2. When you have a party most of your friends aren’t even in the country

You’re planning your birthday party and it’ll be a huge event. What’s missing? Inviting all your friends! The only problem? About 70 % of your friends aren’t even in the same country as you. You send them an invitation anyway, hoping they have found a gold pot at the end of the rainbow and will be able to fly in. Deep down you know, they won’t make it. But even deeper down you already have the image of the perfect world, where all your friends join your party and make it the biggest success in your lifetime. Don’t be sad! It’s unfair, but on the other hand, your friends around the world are as sad as you that they won’t make it to your party and can’t spend time with you.

3. The biggest problem: at some point one of you leaves

It’s inevitable that sooner or later you have to leave your temporary home and go back to you real home country. That’s the sad truth: everything comes to an end. But of course, that doesn’t count for your friendship! You’ll stay in touch, promise to visit each other (and hopefully also do so) and for the big moments, that happen in your life, you already know who to tell them to.

4. You always have to ask “Where are you?” 

From now on messages won’t start with “How are you?”, but with “Where are you? The most amazing thing just happened…”. Yes, you’ll miss out on stuff, but your friends will always keep you updated, thanks to modern technology.

5. You’ll probably never have all your friends in one place 

You’ll realise that you probably never will have all your friends sitting at one table. You’ll also realise that your best friend from back home maybe never get to know your friends from your new country. To be honest, yes, that is sad, but on the other hand that’s the destiny one must live with when having friends all over the world.

6. Wherever you are, you’ll always miss someone 

Probably the hardest part of having friends in different countries is that it doesn’t matter where you are – you’ll always miss someone! While doing your internship abroad you will miss your friends back home and your family. But once you are back in your city you will miss all the new friends you got to know in the foreign country. It’s really a vicious circle, as it doesn’t matter where you go, there’s always someone who isn’t there you’d like to have around.

7. You have many places to stay, but no money to visit 

Having international friends means also getting constant invitations to their home. You probably could do almost a world trip and wouldn’t need to pay for any accommodation, due to the friends you made while staying abroad. You could, if you have the money. But plane tickets are expensive and even though you wouldn’t spend a penny once being at your friend’s place, the costs are too high for a student like you. That is a real struggle! Having the offers and not be able to accept them…

8. To talk to your friends, you must spend much time on your phone

Whether you like it or not, having international friends means depending on internet devices such as social media or your mobile phone in order to communicate with your long-distance friends. At certain hours you may be stuck on your phone, because your international friends are online and writing you. Let’s be honest, if you didn’t have them you probably wouldn’t seem so addicted to your phone. But although others might judge you, it is the only way to stay in touch and keep the friendship alive.  

9. Finding the right time to skype

As already mentioned, you are depending on modern technology to keep in touch with your friends abroad. Skype is a great way to also see them and not just write. But scheduling a Skype call can be tricky. Especially when your friends live in another time zones the sentences “let’s skype at 5” can result in higher mathematics, as you have to check which time this will be in your place. But don’t worry, once it works out without misunderstandings, it’s worth the trouble.

10. Once international, always international

Despite all the troubles, you can’t imagine a life without your friends abroad. All the memories you made together and all the jokes you told each other (regardless of the language barriers), etc. Life is better with friends – and it’s even more perfect with international ones!

You also want to make some international friends? Or get even more? Then what are you waiting for? Apply for an internship abroad! We from PIC Management will help you find the perfect internship for you! Check out our internship vacancies now:

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