The time I… made lifelong friends over an overpriced milkshake

Australian milkshake featuring chocolate covered bacon, two donuts, pretzels, marshmallows and whip cream. (Photo by Morganna Pogue)

TRU’s study abroad ambassador Morganna Pogue arrived in Perth last year to begin her first semester abroad. For the next three months, Pogue looked forward to meeting new people, travelling as much as possible and seeing what Australian culture had to offer.

However, the big change of new surroundings and not knowing anyone had an impact on her.

“It’s hard when you’re abroad. You feel alone sometimes being in a completely new place without any of your friends,” she said.

Although it’s difficult, she said that being alone is important to force you to get out of your comfort zone and become more independent. Thankfully, there are many other study abroad students who are in the same situation and it wasn’t long before Pogue met tons of new people.

Roughly two weeks after arriving in Australia, she went on a search for the best milkshake in Perth. At the time, this had become a huge trend in the city as students and locals visited as many milkshake cafés
as possible and rated them online in search of the very best one. What Pogue didn’t know was that in a few hours this simple activity would cause the group of students to become lifelong friends.

They began the trip by taking a train from their university into the city, planning to get off at the stop closest to the milkshake café they had found online. They ended up missing their stop and walking to their destination. What was originally a 30-minute trip took the group over two hours, and in the meantime they were able to truly get to know each other.

Pogue was enjoying her time with the group, but something else was on her mind. The night before this excursion, her long-term relationship had ended abruptly. Although she tried not to let it show, her emotions ended up coming to the surface.

“It was so strange to open up to people I barely knew,” Pogue said.

Morganna Pogue, far right, with her Australian friends. (Photo by Morganna Pogue)

Her honesty caused each member of the group to share similar stories and give advice, supporting and comforting one another.

“The encouragement and support I was feeling from these girls was unreal, and I had known them for such a short period of time.”

The ability for people from all over the world with different backgrounds and stories to connect and relate to such similar experiences was one of the most eye-opening experiences for Pogue. She was amazed that someone could receive so much love and compassion from people who were complete strangers just two weeks prior.

“It was one of the favourite experiences I’ve ever had,” Pogue said.

For the rest of Pogue’s time in Australia, the group travelled the continent all the while creating new experiences.
Pogue still keeps in touch with the group almost daily and is already planning her next adventure with the group.

Studying abroad not only gives students the opportunity to explore different countries and cultures, but also create valuable long-term relationships with all kinds of people.