Going to an international high school has left me with a spectrum of friends all over the place. Here are some pros and cons of the friendships that cross oceans.
Pro: You get to hear about your friends’ new experiences.
Maybe it’s just the nuances between the subway systems in Japan versus New York City, or the difference in bread in Paris versus Malaysia. Regardless, the sharing of all these different places makes it so you’re still somehow connected and just a little bit more informed on their lives. It’s the tiny details that count, really, and every short snap story is worth seeing. Until you get to see their city for yourself, it’s those quick 10 seconds that make you feel like you’re there with them also.
Con: Time zone differences get in the way.
It gets difficult trying to find a good time to Skype when one of you is 12 hours ahead and the other needs to get to class on time. Trying to text can also be a hassle. Often times you’ll get a reply 6 hours after the initial urgent message. You still text your long-distance BFF first, regardless, but it’s a struggle to get used to the delays.
Pro: You have a certain set of destinations in mind when traveling.
Once break hits, you have a variety of places you want to visit because you haven’t seen your good friends in a while. It adds a layer of gratification when you’re in London and you have someone who knows the ins and outs of the city — maybe you’ll look less like the awkward tourist (just kidding, everyone can still tell). Likewise, you’re always willing to host your friends when it’s their turn to travel because showing them around just contains a certain thrill.
Con: Sometimes, you just can’t understand what they’re going through.
I moved away from the United States before high school, so when my old friends on the east coast talk about the American public high school experience, I don’t really get some of their references. Likewise, it’s hard to explain the weird “Americanized” bubble of my high school in Taipei. Now, with friends in college in London and Australia, I still find it hard to grasp certain parts of their life. But it’s always good to listen and learn about their new life experiences.
Pro: You learn how to maintain relationships even with the distance.
It takes a lot of effort on both parts. Sometimes, that extra effort to keep in touch with everyone falls by the wayside when exams hit and no one can maintain a healthy sleep schedule. However, that’s just the beauty of long-distance friendships: regardless of the rough patches, you learn to reach out to one another. And the hugs that occur when you reunite are some of the best ones out there.