International students discuss long distance relationships

Jennifer Keil


Arthur Mehregan


“Distance is not for the fearful; it is for the bold,” said Meghan Daum, an author and journalist. “It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. 

 “It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough.” 

A Penn State study found 25-50% of college students are in a long distance relationship (LDR) at any given time and 75% have been in a LDR at some point. 

While American students may experience long distance relationships when they move across states for college, the distance for international students is compounded by lack of quick transportation and time differences.  

Students experience anxiety and many questions when they move away from a partner.

What will happen to you and them? How will you maintain your relationship with your partner, who is miles away from you? Will the strain of an LDR impact your studies and mental health?

Markus Melin, a junior business and economics major, is an exchange student from Sweden. Melin is in a long-distance relationship. He and his girlfriend, Alexandra, had known each other for quite some time before they decided to start a relationship.

Being in an LDR was not a new concept to Melin because he was in an LDR with a girl who lived in Germany before he met his current girlfriend. 

“Now it’s just a short period that Alexandra and I are away from each other (4-5 months), but we still talk every day on FaceTime or video calls on Facebook Messenger,” Melin said.

“We also text a lot to keep in touch.” 

Even though they are virtually communicating daily, there are still obstacles and challenging moments for both of them. 

Melin said he believes that not being able to interact with Alexandra physically has been a dilemma for him. 

“The thing I miss the most is waking up next to her, giving her a hug, and seeing those beautiful sparkling eyes,” Melin said. 

Melin said that hugging plays an essential role in his relationships. “Sometimes you have good days, and sometimes you have bad days.”

 “And it’s sad not to be able to be there for your girlfriend when the bad or boring days come.

 “Even though video calls work well, it’s not really the same thing.”

On the other hand, Melin believes there are some advantages to an LDR, such as the time you spend with your partner becomes more valuable. 

The communication leads to strengthening your relationship with a unique bond.

“We never thought about breaking up because of this LDR, and we both know exactly what the other person wants,” Melin said. “No distance will break our relationship.”

“When I get back to Sweden, we will take at least one week just to be with each other and do things together. 

“Like short trips in Sweden such as going to a spa and just relaxing. Like really take time and enjoy the moment together. 

 “Later this year we are planning a trip to Spain, as well, which I’m really looking forward to.” 

In the end, he revealed that Alexandra would travel to Troy to visit, and if that did not work out he would have to wait until the end of the semester.

Nicole Carlvret from Uppsala in Sweden is in Troy for an exchange semester to study psychology. 

She has been together with her boyfriend, Edwin, since January 2018 and is currently in a long distance relationship with a distance of 4777 miles (7688 km). 

Edwin didn’t like the fact that she was going to Troy for the semester at first. 

“I had to work with him for about four months and let the idea melt in,” Carlvret said.

She remembers that he tried to convince himself that everything was going to be OK, “but it was truly, truly hard for him.” 

Unlike Melin’s girlfriend, Carlvret ‘s boyfriend has to go to work and cannot come to the United States to visit her. 

The couple video calls each other almost every day to stay in touch, even though there is a time difference of seven hours. 

So, when Carlvret wakes up, her boyfriend is coming home from work, and when he is going to bed she is finishing classes. 

The evenings are especially hard when her beloved one is sleeping, and she is alone thinking about what she is missing. 

“I miss having fun with him, having dinners with him and waking up next to him, going to the gym with him, ” Carlvret said. 

She explained that they met in a gym in Sweden four years ago.

Therefore, going to the fitness center makes her smile as she constantly thinks about him. 

On the other hand, thinking about saying goodbye was hard for her. 

Carlvret’s boyfriend insisted on bringing her to the airport in Sweden on Dec. 21, 2021, so she could say “goodbye” to her sister and him. 

“They both were giving me those big puppy eyes,” Carlvret said. 

“They looked at me, almost started to cry, but they held themselves, and he hugged me and kissed me and was about to cry.” 

Carlvret  shared that he sent her a voice message on his way home saying that he had already started to miss her. 

Of course, then he was challenging himself for four months with the fact that his girlfriend would live on the other side of the world for a long time.

For Carlvret, breaking up with her boyfriend was never an option.

“I did not think about breaking up,” Carlvret said. 

“If I leave, we get stronger together or drift apart, and then we know how real our relationship is.” 

If everything goes well, they will enjoy a good meal at a date night when she is back at the end of June. The couple will probably give each other a big hug because she said, “not being able to hug him is the worst part.”

Jennifer Keil is an exchange student from Germany and Arthur Mehregan is from Iran. Both are in Troy studying for one semester. 

Related posts