One of the things you will probably hear most when researching study abroad is that you’ll make lifelong friends. When I applied for my program in the fall, I heard all of the stories but had a hard time believing their authenticity. I’m fairly social back home, but I was worried about meeting new people abroad with similar interests and getting out of my shell. 

For our program, our professors actually organized several official and unofficial pre-departure meetings for our group to meet and get to know each other. I didn’t know it at the time, but I actually made some of my closest friends at these meetings. After class on the second day, a group of us went to lunch at a cute pizzeria, Bella Vita. The next day we walked around Old Town Dubrovnik and that’s when I realized how close I had gotten with my friends.

Some background: I’ve always fallen a bit on the clumsy side (pun intended). I slipped on some wet pavement at the Old Town Port and Madison–my hero!–grabbed my arm and prevented an impromptu plunge into the harbor. Beyond having a funny anecdote to look back on, I also now have some really solid friends who I know are willing to fish me out of any given body of water. Let’s hope this concludes my gravity tests. Good news: it still works!

Postscript: I went on to fall down once more at Diocletian’s Palace in Split…on some stairs in a gelato shop in Zagreb…and once more on a sunset hike back home in Huntsville.

Pictured from left to right: Madison Taylor, Lauren Ritz, Jordan Copenhaver, Bailey Liddle, and me