Ranked: Students who study abroad

If you haven’t met one of them, then you probably are one of them.


Aaliya Luthra

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Josie Leach, Staff Writer

As the school year comes to an end, it is time for study abroad kids to start making their way back to the United States. Whether they loved or hated their time abroad, those of us who remained in New York City are pretty much guaranteed to hear all about it. So, here is an ode to the study abroad students, even though many who go abroad forget all about the studying.

5.  The travel vlogger 

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Despite applying to NYU, this student simply can’t imagine going to college in New York City. They spend most of their time discussing with their adviser how they can earn all their credits and do yet another semester abroad. They keep renewing their visas, and are even considering dropping out to become a full-time travel vlogger. 

Their parents haven’t heard from them in months, but that’s OK because they can easily keep up to date with their child through their many abroad accounts — one for food, one for churches and one for colored doors. Even blood relatives don’t need to see 25 stories of window blinds and train schedules. Their friends back home are all but forgotten, replaced by locals who “just really get them.” In fact, they are pretty sure they were born abroad in another life. After this long time away, the dirty streets of New York City are no longer an option. It’s time to find a foreign spouse and secure a home far from the United States.  

4.  The STEM student who finds themself studying liberal arts

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

This student’s abroad location doesn’t offer any courses toward their major, so this has basically been a semester-long vacation for them. ChatGPT has written all of their essays, and they are wondering why they ever thought pre-med was a good idea. They’ve clearly forgotten that they will have to do real work when they get back to Washington Square. What even is studying? With a curve so extreme it’s barely legal, the new norm is pre-quiz clubbing and still managing to get an A.

3.  The semester-long tourist

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

This student’s most common method of communication is either speaking English obnoxiously loudly and slowly or using a mix of all the foreign words they happen to know. Their favorite place to hang out is Starbucks, where they will often order an item exclusive to that city for a daily dose of culture. They still rely heavily on Google Maps for navigation, despite only ever visiting the gym near their housing and the same three American bars. All of their travel research and any facts they know about their abroad city have been found via TikTok, from videos they discovered after spending hours lying in bed instead of exploring the city.

They claim they cannot wait to return home and spend quality time with family, but everyone knows they are really looking forward to White Claws and 5% nicotine vapes. Nonetheless, they refuse to fly home right away because they are still holding out for a date with a foreign fling. Of course, this is a difficult task considering they refuse to enter any establishment without an English menu available. 

2. The quirky global citizen

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Being out of the country has truly changed this student, and they will make sure you are aware of this fact, no matter the scenario. Invite them over for a pregame? They will probably refuse, claiming they no longer sip anything but wine local to their abroad site and explaining how they are disgusted by American drinking culture. Ask them to accompany you on a shopping trip? They will sigh heavily and detail how American fabrics just do not agree with their supple abroad skin anymore. They much prefer thrifting, anyway. If you do not happen to ask them where their 15 rings are from, they will certainly still tell you, detailing the remote market they found them in. At dinner, they will complain about how everything feels bland and processed now that they have tasted the real ingredients of food abroad. They will also claim they are now fluent in their abroad language, though this is based solely on their ability to order a meal and ask where the bathroom is located.

Watch out for groups of these individuals — they will spend gatherings laughing about clubs they attended, people they met and every single niche, unrelatable experience they had while abroad. They will continue to post photos from their travels for months after they return home, reminding anyone who has forgotten that they did, in fact, study abroad. 

1.  The one who made cigarettes their personality

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Every post on this student’s Instagram is an edgy photo of them smoking — in a dimly lit bar, in front of the Louvre, next to the Trevi Fountain, anywhere. They love mansplaining about how rolling their own cigarettes is just so cost efficient, as if they are not still spending absurd amounts of money to slowly destroy their lungs. They promise that they are not addicted, but will still be found bright and early every morning with a coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. While they will definitely quit when back in New York, they conveniently selected a dorm with a balcony, and they left room in their schedule for smoke breaks between classes next semester.

Disclaimer: This is a joke, mostly. Then again, for anyone feeling particularly called out, it may be time to look inward. For my part, I will share that I have been studying abroad for the past year and have never actually attended NYU in New York City. Thus, it is only fair that I admit to several Starbucks visits, an illusion of foreign language fluency and a desire to hang around abroad just a little longer for the possibility of a European romance. If you see me on campus next semester, make sure to ask me about my ring. Spoiler: I got it from a secluded market in the heart of Italy. 

Contact Josie Leach at [email protected].