Abroadicitis. Not really a word…just a serious condition I’ve discovered and am consequently naming.
This plague is spreading throughout Europe faster than volcanic ash from Iceland, and it’s targeting many current American abroad students. Abroadicitis’s primary symptoms include an unjustifiable superiority complex when comparing the social scene of one’s abroad home to others, and hypersensitivity to any person or thing that dares to threaten the predominance of an individual’s respective host city nightlife.
My first encounter with a Abroadicitis victim took place one night on my February trip to Rome. After unexpectedly bumping into an old friend (who’s spending his semester in Prague), I asked him about how his trip was going. His response puzzled me.
“Prague # 1, Barcelona #2.”
While displaying my most inquisitive facial expression, I asked him what he meant.
“Dude, Prague’s # 1. Barcelona’s #2.”
Having not yet personally visited either of these cities, I wondered what lead my friend to provide such a strange, spirited, and assertive response. Apparently a “things are great, how’s Florence?” didn’t suffice for him, and I needed to know why.
My slightly-inebriated comrade followed up with a brief rant about partying ’til dawn with “beer being cheaper than water” in the Czech Republic’s five-story nightclubs, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Two Long Islanders were reuniting in one of history’s most beautiful and influential cities (after a month of traveling Europe), and world-class partying was the first thing that my friend wanted to report to me. While I’m no stranger to having a good time, bottles are “popped” daily all around the world. You’d think that interesting culture, locals, and sights are all worth mentioning too.
There’s some serious Euro-ego when it comes to abroad raging. For some foolish reason, many associate partying later with partying more or harder. Did you folks ever think that maybe you stay out longer because you simply start drinking later? Table reservations and relationships with suave, surname-lacking promoters are sadly highlights of many of my peers’ current semester. To me, however, these are more characteristic of New York City’s “Thanksgiving Eve” than a true, once-in-a-lifetime trip of self discovery and personal growth.
I came abroad to Florence to soak in unfamiliarity. Through seeing the world, meeting new people, and sharing my experiences with others, I believe I’m doing just that. Partying is simply the bonus, and a friendly reminder that I’m still a college student, after all.
Living in “the food capital of the world,” I feel bad for those suffering from Abroadicitis in “#1,” “#2,” or anywhere else where the adventure’s metaphorical “dessert” is confused with its main course.