May 23rd, 2022, 08:00 AM

Friendships Between Full-Time and Visiting Students

By Lily Pike
Image credit: AUP Instagram
Do the relationships formed stand the test of time?

Studying abroad is a privilege that many students dream of experiencing when in college. However, some students decide they want their entire college experience to be overseas. AUP offers college students everywhere an opportunity to pursue their entire degree while living in Paris while also being home to visiting students, whether it be for one semester or a full year.

AUP currently has a total of 1,100 undergraduate students, many of which are visiting students. Those studying abroad are integrated into the general student population rather than separated into their own programs. Not splitting up the two types of students allows for forming unique relationships, which either results in an indestructible bond or a deconstructed friend group by the end of the semester.

While combining the student bodies creates a realistic learning environment, full-time students receive a slightly different college experience than most who attend 4-year universities in the United States in terms of the friends they make. Meeting a variety of people from all over the world and the ability to create meaningful relationships with them is definitely a perk to AUP; however, the fact that all of the closest friends you make could leave after one semester is a scary experience. It raises the question of whether the time limit keeps students from attempting to form a bond at all. 


For some students,  the varying relationships doesn't hamper their experience at the university. 

 “It doesn’t matter to me whether or not someone is a visiting student of full-time,” Annalisa Cabral-Sanchez, a first-year student at AUP said. “Some friendships can be for a short period of time and still be memorable, it really just depends on the effort they put into maintaining the relationship.”

In fact, some students argue that these diverse relationship and mixture of students is what makes AUP such a unique experience. 

“At the end of the day we are all AUP students whether it’s for one semester or four years,” Cabral-Sanchez said. “While I find myself closer with the friends I have made that will be with me until I graduate, I think part of the experience of this school is a community has been created between students of all kinds.”

Many students who choose to study abroad are separated into their own specific programs at their university of choice, while AUP has made the decision to keep everyone together. This helps create an environment in which all pupils feel open to connect with one another despite what their status at the school dictates, however it is up to each person if they want to be a part of it.



 “There are definitely groups of full-time students that hang around with one another and groups of visiting students who do the same,” Sam Crocker, a visiting student from the University of San Francisco said . “In my case, I've made really close friendships with both types of students.” 

Both visiting and full-time students go through the process of saying goodbye once the semester is up, not knowing who you may see return. However, this is something that college kids everywhere must face, and it is entirely up to each individual on whether not to put in the work to stay connected to their friends once they part. 

“It will be sad to leave my friends who go to AUP full-time, but realistically, I'm leaving my visiting friends who go to school in different parts of America as well,” Crocker said. “It's a tricky situation for everybody, although I think it would be fair to say that full-time students get it the worst because this happens to them every school year, watching the visiting friends they made leave.”


While being able to form connections with various people, the continuous flux of pupils may impose on AUP students' ability to have a strong social circle for all four years. This is a common experience felt by the AUP community.

“It’s such a unique experience to have the opportunity to meet new people every semester,” Zoë Lester, a third-year student at AUP said. “However, the constant flow of students definitely does make it more difficult to form a solid friend group. I was definitely shocked by how many of the people I became closest to left after my first semester here, It took some getting used to, but I finally found a close group that's here to stay, and I even still talk to a lot of the friends I’ve made who eventually left," Lester added. 

AUP offers a unique experience in which the student body can connect with a multitude of different people, whether they are here for all four years or simply visiting. As a result, first-year students must adjust to the fact that their initial college social groups may end up fractured by the end of the semester, but this doesn't mean the friendships are lost forever.