Thomas Enrique Jelvez Stenersen gives us some tips to help keep the magic alive during a difficult year apart
Does absence make the heart grow fonder? That is a question numerous couples must ask themselves as an abundance of students commence their year abroad, many leaving behind a significant other. I am currently on the third month of my exchange year in Chile and have found myself in a long distance relationship. Undertaking studies away from your partner can prove to be an incredibly demanding task for a considerable amount of people, many returning home to nobody. Consequently, I have gathered some advice on how to make a long distance relationship work from my experience as an exchange student and recommendations from others I would like to try out myself.
- Communication is key
Make sure to stay in touch as often as possible. Attempt to text daily through WhatsApp or Messenger, and try to set a date for a video call at least once every 1-2 weeks to summarise your experiences. It is amazing how comforting it can be to hear your significant other’s voice, especially during bouts of homesickness. Consistently sharing photos and videos of your adventure can immerse your partner in your experiences. Communication is especially vital during rough periods, so leave time to comfort one another!
- Set some ground rules before departure
To avoid any unpleasant surprises during your time apart, it is elementary to devise some rules before you set foot on foreign soil. Any limitations on actions and guidelines on how to act must be agreed upon by both parties before even thinking about initiating such a major stage of your life. If your loved one prohibits a certain activity, say clubbing, then by the love of God, do not, I repeat, do not do it, unless you are keen on opening a can of worms.
“It is amazing how comforting it can be to hear your significant other’s voice”
3. Plan for your mutual future
Organise a visit during your stay if possible and plan activities for when you permanently return from your year abroad. Having something to look forward to creates excitement and eases the strain of distance on your relationship. This is the perfect opportunity to plan all the trips you probably won’t be able to afford due to the regular splash-out on cheeky takeaways (I have a serious problem with this)
4. Retain your individuality
Although communication is paramount to make a long distance relationship work, spending too much time in contact and neglecting the world around, is a waste of time for both of you. Make the most of your experience abroad and accumulate plenty of topics to converse about. Being glued to your phone is not the reason why you made the decision to become an exchange student, is it
5. Gifts and letters
There are few things more priceless than the anticipation of receiving a present from your loved one. Just imagine the feeling of an Amazon delivery, only the wait is considerably longer, increasing the excitement of finally obtaining your parcel. Just make sure to dispatch birthday gifts as early as possible to prevent any disappointments. Snail mail is also a fun way to keep things interesting. Send a letter describing the things you love about your partner, or even write a poem if you fancy playing with words.