The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

How to make a long-distance relationship work

So you’ve decided to try and make a long-distance relationship work while studying abroad. Here are some tips to give your relationship a fighting chance of surviving...

Long distance relationships for international students

After a long flight, you finally find your room and start to unpack your suitcases, but then it hits you. You look at all your scattered belongings and that’s when you realize your most valuable item didn’t make it: your significant other.


Constant communication = bad

With all of the new apps and different ways of communicating now, keeping in touch with him or her has become much easier, but at the same time can complicate the relationship if you’re not careful. For instance, you do not want to have constant communication. While some people think communicating every hour is necessary to compensate for the distance, it actually makes things a little stickier as messages can become less meaningful and a possessive relationship can ensue.



Get into a routine

In many cases with long-distance relationships, there is a time difference between you. Therefore, it is important to set up ground rules and to start making a bit of routine for you both. Knowing each other’s schedule is a very important factor for communication and staying close. While you don’t want constant communication you also don’t want to become too distant. There is a happy medium somewhere in this balancing act, I swear.



What to talk about

Firstly, make sure you tell each other what you did, and how your day went at the end of each day. Even if you did not do much that day, it will make you both feel more connected and in sync knowing those details. Although some people do not enjoy talking on the phone, chatting with him or her every other day is also a good break between messaging and is more effective considering more can be covered in a fifteen minute phone call compared to fifteen minutes of messaging. Sending pictures of your daily adventures directly to him or her also helps create a more intimate sharing experience instead of public photo albums.



Look ahead

Secondly, talking about your future together helps move the relationship along and brings something to look forward to while keeping the excitement going at hard times. Every morning and night make sure you put forth the simple effort of greeting them with a “Good morning” or “Goodnight”. This at least starts and ends the communication, and lets them know you are thinking of them at the start and end of your day, simple, yet effective.



Video-chatting = essential

Thirdly, video-chatting is a must! So many different apps offer video-chatting that it is just as accessible as messaging each other. Through messaging, words can become misconstrued and taken the wrong way since emotions are not clearly read through text. Therefore, make sure you schedule video-chats for clearer or more serious communication at least once a week, this also gives you both something to look forward to.



Keep something of theirs

Last but not least, it is also a good idea to exchange something with him or her that you can bring with so that they are with you in a way. Many couples exchange favourite shirts, pillows, or blankets with their scent on them so they can relax with his or her belongings.




Even though long distance relationships are not ideal, take advantage of all the different ways of communication we have now and keep things interesting between you. While communicating with each other can become a balancing act, if you set aside time in your schedules for a call or video call you both will be more connected to each other in an otherwise distant situation.

About Author

Long distance relationships for international students

Alyson Blech recently graduated with degrees in Public Relations and Media Studies, along with minors in Journalism and Art History from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Alyson has lived in Iowa her entire life, but decided to cross the pond to gain internship experience in London, England. In her spare time she obsesses over dogs, pizza and zumba.