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5 Reasons Why You Need More International Friends

You will always have a couch to sleep on around the world

Having close friends in Germany, Estonia, Spain and Brazil, I’ve had my fair share of couch living while traveling. Being able to stay with a friend in a different country brings a whole new dimension and authenticity to your visit. You get a free tour guide and are accepted into a home, as opposed to simply staying in a standard hotel room. This is great especially for the solo explorers, as being with a friend counteracts the feeling of loneliness which can often be a byproduct of long periods spent on the road.

You will experience diverse and authentic cuisine

The only thing better than having a fun-loving Greek friend is befriending his mother, a true culinary master who effortlessly whips up sweet, juicy baklava and rich, flavorful musaka. Hanging out with diverse friends will inevitably turn you into a well-versed foodie and perhaps in a chef if you have the time to hit up the local Vietnamese store and pick up some Do Chua for the Banh Mi recipe you learned from your friend.

You inadvertently pick up a new language

“Este sushi huele a madres!” You catch yourself saying things which make no sense in English, such as this expression, which literally translates into “this sushi smells like moms,” a phrase you picked up from your Mexican buddy. The more international friends you hang out with, the richer vocabulary you’ll have and will be fully equipped to say hello in 13 languages.

You get insightful advice from a culturally-different viewpoint

Different countries approach the same issue from different angles. As a work-hard, play-hard American, you may think that losing your job is the biggest deal in the world. Your Spanish friend may tell you that life is too short to worry and take you out for a drink. Your German friend will make a list of recommended positions you can start applying to, while your Thai friend will sit you down and tell you not to dwell on failure, but to remember that on the grand scheme of things, a job does not determine your life. Your international friends will make you reevaluate your thinking.

Your fridge will be decorated with exotic postcards

You would smile at the cute camel on the postcard from Egypt hanging on the fridge every time you reach for milk. Travel enthusiasts are likely to befriend other globetrotters, which leads to the accumulation of wonderful mementos.

You receive care packages

Missing those cool Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs you had in Munich on your study abroad program? Loathing the baffling fact that they aren’t available in the US? No problem! Your

German roommate has got you covered with a care package of all the Kinder Bueno, Duplo and eggs she could legally ship to the US!

You always have someone to talk to in a different time zone

With the advancement of technology today, it’s extremely easy to be in touch with friends anywhere in the world. Apps such as Skype, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Viber let you call your mom from the other side of the world and show her the lovely park you’re having a picnic at, or share your Primavera Festival experience from Barcelona with your friend in Bangkok. The best part is that you can always call your friend in Australia when it’s 3am in the United States if you have trouble sleeping.

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I moved across the ocean from Bulgaria to the US at age 16, alone, in pursuit of my studies. Since then, I have graduated from college in Connecticut, lived in Spain, traveled across Europe, met some extraordinary individuals, redefining the conventional understanding of "family," and learned how to live more meaningfully. A passionate student of Plato and Heidegger, I see travel as the ultimate guide to self-knowledge and reflection upon one's purpose. I strive to immerse myself deeply into foreign environments and hopefully learn how to cook a few local delicacies. A thrill-seeker of what Immanuel Kant calls the "sublime," namely breathtaking natural landscapes, I try to immortalize them with my little Cannon camera. The pursuit of philosophical epiphanies and gastronomical indulgence is deeply embedded in my adventures.I just lost my crazy, overwhelming corporate job and am job hunting and diving into my writing. Here or abroad - bring it on!

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