How To Be a Good Roommate During Your Study Abroad Trip
1. You Don’t Have to be BFF’s
You’re probably far enough in to your college career to know that you and your roomie don’t have to be attached at the hip, but not knowing your roommate going into such an extreme semester can make us dream of being paired with someone that is our other half to make the time abroad even more perfect. However, it is unrealistic to be matched with a stranger that you will get long with and have no problem all semester. Don’t set yourself up or disappointment; instead, mentally prepare yourself to be friendly and to know that it’s ok if you aren’t best friends with your roommate. As long as you can both approach problems calmly and maturely, and be kind to one another, your roommate will stay in your mind as a positive relationship long after your trip is over.
2. Be Considerate With Light and Noise
You and your roommate(s) are going to have to make some adjustments to your regular routines, so be considerate of your roommate potentially having different sleep pattern and habits than you. Just because you can sleep through a train wreck doesn’t mean everyone else can, and just because you sleep in complete darkness doesn’t mean that your roommate might need some light nearby. Whatever your sleep habits are, invest in some ear plugs and an eye mask because they will also be handy to have during your weekend travels too. Not knowing what kind of atmosphere your bedroom will be like means you should come prepared, and be prepared to be considerate. Be extra quiet when you know others are sleeping, and compromise with your roommate if one of you wants to stay up later than the other, Make use of common space in your dorm/apartment if you have it.
3. Do Your Best and Be Flexible
When you first move in, it’s common courtesy to clean up after yourself and be extra tidy until you learn what kind of personality and habits your roommate has. If you both don’t mind a little mess, then by all means, toss your shoes in the middle of the room and walk away. But until you truly know how your roommate likes to keep things, do your best to pick up things and share household chores. It’s all about being considerate and having the ability to compromise. It can also help you in the long run to keep your area cleaner than your normally would, that way it’s much easier to clean it all up and move out when the time comes, and you won’t have to be responsible for any kind of damage or charges.
4. Ask About Their Day and Their Life at Home
You’ll be going through a lot of changes physically, emotionally, and mentally as you adjust to your study abroad experience. One of the hardest parts about it is getting there and not having your usual “person” to turn to and share whatever good or bad or funny experiences you have throughout the day. Ask your roommate how their classes are going, how their family is back home, what their day was like. Having someone to talk to about all of the things that are going on in a foreign country can be a huge benefit to BOTH of you. Plus, you’ll get to know them better and be able to share your family and home life with them, too.
5. Do Things On Your Own
Giving your roomie some space a few times a week also means you get some time to yourself just the same. Take a walk, go for a run, grab a coffee, or go enjoy a nice view by yourself to make coming home to your roommate more enjoyable. Taking some time for yourself and giving peace and quiet to your roomie can let you both unwind and recharge at your own pace, which will put you in a better mood to be around each other.
These tips make it sound like you’ll be dealing with the worst-case scenario roommate, but the idea is to get you in the mindset that you’re about to experience so many amazing different things, so if you’re open-minded and ready to make the best of your trip, the bond you will make with your roommate will become that much stronger. It’s a hard thing to meet someone on the spot and start living together in a foreign country, so it’s already a disadvantage. But everyone has the same goal of making their trip the best it can be, so be kind and considerate, and enjoy every second of your new friendships and experience abroad.