by Kari Lutes, Features Editor

Asbury stresses two things equally: community and cross-cultural experience. But these two things can come to a head when the people who make Asbury a great community for you are spending a semester in a completely different country to fulfill their cross-cultural requirement. A year ago my twin sister and our friend headed off to Oxford, England to spend a semester abroad. These are the tips I learned for coping when your friends are studying abroad:

Be Adventurous 

One thing our generation isn’t great at is being alone, especially when we’re outside of our own space or doing something outside of our comfort zone. Don’t decide not to do something just because the person that would usually go with you isn’t there. Go anyway. You might learn you like adventuring alone, and I truly believe that is a skill everyone needs to be a well-rounded person.

Facetime is a Lifesaver 

This tip might seem obvious, but really it isn’t. You may think you shouldn’t spend 3 hours talking to your friend in Spain when you should be doing homework, or you might think that they’re too busy to talk. Neither of these things are true. Sometimes, a long chat with the person you miss is just the motivation you need to get back to work. On the flip side, your friend probably misses home even if he or she is having the time of his or her life—they’ll welcome your campus news.

Celebrate with Them 

The best way to beat FoMo (or the Fear of Missing Out) is to celebrate. Your friend may have spent their spring break in Paris while you went back to your hometown and housesat for your neighbor, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to hear every detail of their trip and save all the pictures they snapchat you. And don’t forget to tell them when something great is happening for you in Wilmore; your friend still wants to celebrate with you too.

Connect on Campus 

With your friend abroad, you may realize you’re without your usual fast-food run crew. Branch out and ask friends who you don’t typically eat dinner with or only talk to in class if they are craving Chick-fil-a as much as you. You’ll grow closer to friends you have and even make a few new ones. Even though you think your community is getting smaller, it might actually grow while your friends are abroad.