Seven Strangers Turned Friends

Finding a friend group is always hard. You have to go through trial and error between the people you think you fit with and the people you truly belong with.

Coming to Australia in February, I couldn’t imagine who would be in my new friend group, whether they were going to be Australian, American, French, German, Irish, Spanish, Dutch or from somewhere else. I walked into my apartment not knowing that the six strangers I was about to spend five months living with would turn into friends that could last me a lifetime.

Last week at dinner, I asked the girls: “At what point do you think we all became friends?” To which almost everyone replied: “Married at First Sight,” an Australian reality dating show. We would all pile into the living room after finishing dinner, ready at 7:30 p.m. to laugh, bond, and scream at the couples on TV. If you asked me whether I pictured this moment five months ago, I wouldn’t know what to say.

Since then, the apartment is always filled with loud laughter, stories about everyone’s days, avocados, complaints about the survey people on Broadway, funny tweets, kitchen bugs, the smell of pancakes, and a whole lot of love.

Whenever people study abroad, they emphasize how much they have changed from the experience and how important and unforgettable it was. But it is not necessarily the place that makes the experience, but a combination of that and the people you share that experience with.

We supported each other when feeling homesick, when running out of monthly Wi-Fi, when struggling to differentiate the types of cheese at Coles Supermarket, when swimming in assignments, and when accidentally setting off the fire alarm (I won’t say who). All seven of us went through a similar process of adapting to our new life in Australia, and living together made it that much easier to settle in, to break down barriers, and to be able to call this another home.

I am writing this article because our seven went down to a six and our time is coming to a quick end. Five months ago, I wouldn’t be able to say how grateful I am for being placed in an apartment with such wonderful, beautiful and inspiring people from different parts of the world.

Finding a friend group is hard, but saying goodbye once you’ve found them is even harder.

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