How to tell if your friend studied abroad

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With the fall semester in full swing, many of us are back to the usual grind: classes, homework and midterms. Regardless of how hot it continues to be in Berkeley, summer is long gone. But, some of us — especially those who studied abroad —  continue to live in our happy summer slumber. If you’re trying to figure out if a friend studied abroad, here are some giveaways to help you out: 

They suddenly think that everything in the United States is beneath them

A 12-pack of croissants from Costco? Unacceptable. The croissants in France are perfectly flaky and buttery — nothing in this country can compare. Did you want to spend an evening shopping in Emeryville? Don’t bother. Shopping in California will just never be as exciting as shopping on London’s Oxford Street. 

They have a new accent 

Your days of pronouncing words the way you want are behind you. You know your friend studied abroad if they’ve started pointing out words that you aren’t saying in the “correct” way. “ ‘Clique’ isn’t pronounced ‘click,’ it’s ‘cleek!’ ” If you find yourself avoiding common phrases and words you were once comfortable using, it’s definitely a sign that your newly cultured friend needs to step back. If you hear them slipping into a new accent that they never had before when they talk to international students and say something like, “I can’t help it! It’s natural,” to defend themselves, your friend has a bad case of the study abroad bug. 

“In Europe, we …” 

If they start talking about a foreign place as if they’ve lived there for their entire lives, you know you have a problem on your hands. We know they drive on the other side of the street in England and use kilometers instead of miles in most of the world. If your friend feels the need to point out any of these things, or to tell you how much something you’re buying would cost in pounds or euros, you can conclude, with absolute certainty, that they studied abroad.

They hate all the food here

If your Friday night out with your friend went from a wholesome meal to hours of them picking on every item on the menu, you’ve got yourself another sign. House of Curries will quickly turn from a solid meal to “inauthentic,” and you won’t hear enough about how the restaurant will never compete with real food in India. 

They show you pictures of everything

A friend who whips out their phone and scrolls through their gallery every time you mention anything is a friend who spent a summer traveling. Whether you’re mentioning how hot it is outside, or accidentally mention a fun hike you went on, this person will quickly one-up you by shoving a photo of a European sunset in your face or showing you a sprawling coastline to prove to you that their study abroad experience was amazing. 

They call bars “the pub” 

Your friend has a whole new vernacular and uses weird words that you’re not used to in regular conversation. If you’re talking about the grimy dance floor at Spats or a Thursday night at Triple Rock Brewing and your friend intervenes to say something like, “Yes! I’d love to go to the pub!”, you know they spent too much time trying to blend in with the locals in London. 

If all the study abroad talk is getting you down, relax! Your friend is still living in a summer bubble. As the semester picks up and everyone snaps back to reality, their study abroad photo albums will slowly hide behind homework screenshots, and you won’t have to deal with them anymore. 

Contact Mahira Dayal at[email protected].