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Just as higher-priced sports cars can only run on premium fuel, Californians must run on In-N-Out. Even though the rest of the country has survived thus far on Wendy's, the Californians in any study abroad program will make it clear that nothing is the same (or can even compete). The easiest way to tell if somebody is your program is from California is by the amount they talk about missing In-N-Out, or how nothing else in the entire world compares to In-N-Out, and how they are getting their friends to drop them off at the closest In-N-Out to LAX when they return home. 

 

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After a night of drinking in a foreign country, finding your way home on foot feels like Christopher Columbus discovering America for the first time. You have no idea where you are, you don't ask anyone for directions due to communication barriers, and you think you're somehow in India even though you are clearly not. When studying abroad, the only thing comparable to drunkenly getting yourself home is the last challenge of tomb navigation in Legends of the Hidden Temple. There are challenges along the way (not getting hit by cars driving on the left), puzzles to be solved (not putting quarters in the subway ticket machine), and if you get though to the end, you have to use your wits to do a physical challenge (putting your key in the door and climbing three flights of stairs to your flat).

 

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You can tell you're studying abroad with Americans when you have to google translate your possible tattoo options. Usually study abroad tattoos have something to do with living, laughing, or loving, a Carrie Underwood quote translated into a different language, or a synonym of the word "free" written in cursive. Once everyone realizes the currency conversion rate, most tattoo designs are destined to wait in purgatory on their respective pinterest board.

 

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Unlike the selfie, the instragram classic, "I'm looking into the distance and reflecting on my lifetime while looking over ancient ruins" cannot be taken by the same person. When traveling with a group of Americans, the classic rule of thumb "If it's scenic, I will look over it and ponder" will often apply, and will need to be instragramed.

 

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Even if you are living in a small, foreign apartment with no phone line, cell phone service, or wifi, Americans will somehow figure out how to watch Breaking Bad. And listen Beyonce'e new album, even if it means loitering in front of a Kebab shop with spotty wifi for a few hours. Nothing is a truer representation of the American spirit and perserverance than realizing that every single one of the Americans who you studied abroad with somehow found a way to watch Breaking Bad in another hemisphere.