Merilla & Rachel’s Declassified Study Abroad Survival Guide

New week, new us. Just kidding, we’re the same awkward, not-so-funny bloggers we were last week! However, we do come bearing a gift — a new blog post! We aspire to be those annoying study abroad students who feel the need to constantly remind all their friends and loved ones that they are, in fact, abroad (looking at you Kate…and other Kate!!!!). As an homage to one of our favorite childhood shows, we’d like to present the first installment of “Merilla & Rachel’s Declassified Study Abroad Survival Guide.” Here are some typical challenges you might face while going abroad and some tips on how you can combat them. Also, did we mention we’re studying abroad?


– Max out your mom’s credit card by buying plane tickets for your extended family and friends. When she asks what you spent all the money on, say that it was for a school project on your family tree. Parents eat that shit up.

– Call your professors by your pets’ names and it’ll be like you never left your house!

– Take no shame in Skyping your friends back home to watch hours of television because being a social human being is overrated.

– Make a study abroad blog so you can rub your ~cultured~ experiences in everyone’s face. People really appreciate hearing about you eating “the best hand tossed pizza in Rome” while they’re stuck eating Carm pizza all week.

Getting sick

– Take the Merilla approach and alternate downing cough syrup and cough drops every four hours for two weeks in a desperate attempt to beat “fresher’s flu.”

– Watch Netflix. Specifically, watch medical dramas on Netflix and hope to learn about a remedy for your disease.

– Go on the hot diet. No, this isn’t a diet to make you look hotter (Merilla can attest: that’s not how it works). It’s a diet where you consume only hot (temperature or spice-wise) foods. It helps clear your sinuses and will soothe your throat.

– Perform open heart surgery on yourself. Note: Merilla does not recommend this.

Making friends

– No.

– No.

– Every now and again, tell your “friends” you can’t go out. Your new “friends” will think you’re ~mysterious~ and ~have better options~, but really you’re just rewatching Once Upon a Time and reflecting on Belle and Regina’s character development.

– Don’t make new friends. It’s a trap.

– Did we mention no???????

Budgeting your money

– Get back to us on that one.

– Twenty bags of Haribo sour cherry gummies later…

– Accept that you will be broke after your study abroad experience. Accept this fate and move on.

Making it Seem Like Your Life is Exciting

– Search Google Images for hip pictures of your host country and post them on your Instagram with the caption “studying abroad was a life-changing experience #nofilter~!” Works every time.

– Create a classic Facebook study abroad photo album with a punny title. Or go minimalistic with “Study Abroad 2016.” The possibilities are endless.

– Tag yourself in every place you go on Facebook so that it seems like you’re going out and exploring when in reality it goes a little more like this: “Merilla checked in at her dorm,” “Merilla checked in at her bathroom which is in her dorm room,” “Merilla is now back at her dorm,” “Merilla took a risk and has checked in at the kitchen…which is also in her dorm.”

– Post a picture of four glasses of wine on Snapchat, so it looks like you are getting tipsy with three other people, but you are actually just getting wine-drunk on your own and crying over Adele’s 25 (late to the game, much?).

– Say you’re “interested” in going to a plethora of events in your host country even if you don’t plan on going to a single one. Your calendar will look poppin’ and therefore your life will look poppin’. It’s the second rule of thermodynamo-life aka the road to success.

Ordering food

– THERE’S NO GRUBHUB. This in itself is a reason to not go abroad at all.

– THERE’S NO HELEN’S. The bluezone withdrawal has got us both struggling.

– Due to the lack of methods through which to order delivery in Madrid, Rachel just eats an orange. #HealthNut. Or should we say #HealthOrange???

– Wait jk this is an option for Rachel because Burger King delivers! (ba da ba ba bummmm I’m loving it!)

– The golden rule of ordering food at a restaurant is to get wine. Ideally the second least expensive wine so you don’t seem cheap. This way, you can get happily buzzed during lunch without breaking the bank. Or completely trashed. Your choice. Also, remember food. We recommend anything with cheese and/or carbs (both is best).

Staying in shape

– *crickets chirping*

– *tumbleweed rolls by*

– *the sound of tears silently falling down Leonardo DiCaprio’s face into his empty wine glass as he misses out on yet another Oscar win*


– Say you’re going to Amsterdam “for the canals.”

– Take advantage of the cheap plane tickets throughout Europe! is a godsend. You’ll be able to take weekend trips to places like Copenhagen — ahem…we mean København — Paris, Madrid, and even Budapest for reasonable prices. The key to success when it comes to traveling around Europe is to search through all your options (e.g. accommodation, transportation) and make color-coded Google docs. The latter is not only helpful for organization but also gives you an excuse to procrastinate your schoolwork.

– We proudly introduce to you the Traveling Rachel Plan: Be so nice to your significant other leading up to your school break that they offer to buy you both plane tickets to Italy for a ~romantic getaway~. Then, on the last day, dump them and take up a new relationship with pasta because let’s be real, that’s the only reason you wanted to go to Italy anyway. Also, carbos before Jumbos before bros.


– Yes, you will in fact have to study while you’re abroad, but chances are you’ll have a lot more free time (and less schoolwork) while you’re abroad. Only do what’s absolutely necessary when it comes to homework. Literally. The absolute minimum. This will free up just enough time for you to finally finish Parks and Recreation, take up a fitness class (hahahahaha), or indulge in more naps.

– Only go to the library to take an architecturally stimulating photo. Then never go again.

Also (not so) friendly reminder to all you sophomores who want to go abroad that you’ve missed the application deadline for Tufts Programs Abroad! Yikes. Better luck next time, kiddos.

Stay weird, y’all.


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