Hanging out with Kara (center) and Cierra (right) at Thoresby House.
Hanging out with Kara (center) and Cierra (right) at Thoresby House.

Study Abroad Pals Are Lifetime Friends

I met my best friends two years ago at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on the way to London for Arcadia’s First Year Study Abroad Program (FYSAE).

After picking up my boarding pass at the check-in desk, I headed to the security screening checkpoint. There, a girl with a tight hair bun who was carrying a ton of books tapped me on the shoulder. I recognized her from orientation: Cierra from Philly. She asked if we could go through the security process together. After hugging our families, we picked up our luggage, completed the screening, and went to the gate, where we met all the other FYSAE kids, including Cierra’s roommate, Kara. She had just arrived from her flight from Columbus, Ohio. We talked about our anticipation and excitement about traveling away from home for the first time.

At the time, I wouldn’t have guessed it, but the three of us would remain close friends throughout our time in London. We lived in Thoresby House together, saw Big Ben together, traveled to Amsterdam together, and even bought our first drinks at the pub together. When we returned to Arcadia the following year, we decided to live in Oak Summit. Our weekends would be spent shopping and eating around Philly and reminiscing on our time in London. Cierra introduced me to high-waisted jeans and Kara introduced me to Law & Order SVU. I introduced them to Korean food. Still homesick for London, we decided to study abroad in London once again.

FYSAE meetup.

FYSAE meetup.

This time we went to different schools. I went to the University of Westminster. Cierra went to the London School of Fashion. And Kara went to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Cierra, Kara, and I have been through a lot together. They have been the only people that can truly understand everything I’ve been through in my college career. I can talk about anything with them. I can complain about papers. I can reminisce about strolling around Hyde Park. I can talk to them about missing home because they understand. They’re not only my best friends, they are my trusted travel buddies, fashion consultants, party team, and academic advisees.

Now that I’m entering my senior year, I’m getting nervous about completing thesis and finding a job after graduation. It’s going to a tough year, but I know I can depend on Cierra and Kara to boost my confidence and freak out with me over thesis. It’s nice to know that people are in the same boat as you. I grew up with these girls. And even when college ends, I know I can depend on them with anything. They are truly lifetime friends.