By Tyler Haugen, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
When I was starting my study abroad experience, I had one concern on my mind: what if I don’t meet people? I’m a relatively shy person and I don’t really introduce myself to strangers. So how would I make connections with people from all over the world?
Off Campus Housing
The first way I made connections was finding a place off campus and non-school associated to live in. While the dorms Bocconi provides are definitely off campus (a good 20-30 minute bus ride away), I decided I was going to live in an apartment a pretty good distance from the school. I was hoping to meet someone new and become friends with them. My roommate was Amsterdam and for a long while, we practically did everything together! He was a great friend of mine and we shared a lot of experiences exploring the city.
I also tried to create connections through attending school events. There is a great student program called the Erasmus Student Network that puts on events for international students to hang out together. We went on all sorts of fun trips from attending Oktoberfest to having an unlimited wine dinner. The people I met at these events became great friends and we had parties together and even traveled to different countries.
The biggest way I met some of my best friends while abroad was through hostels while I was traveling. I met three guys in Rome who were staying in my hostel and we traveled the city together, went out to see the nightlife, and even met up in Rotterdam to have a beer and catch up!
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You just have the remember: the people who are out traveling and studying abroad are going through the same things that you are. They’re all looking to meet people and make friends. Say hi and make memories!