The movie had one thing right - Europe IS full with tons of beautiful men. The reality is, not all of those beautiful men are necessarily looking for a long-lasting relationship. In fact, they're probably looking for a relationship that will last around three to four months. How ironic! Don't get us wrong, it's totally fine to have fun and enjoy yourself with that local bartender or promoter, but just keep in mind that the number one person you have to look out for is YOU. This means making sure no matter what "fun" you choose to have, you do so responsibly. Luckily, Lena kept things classy, but who would have blamed her if she would have took Kostos home after a few shots of ouzo? Here are a few tips to look out for your health, your heart, and your future. Because babies are only cool accessories for celebrities, not Chicks Abroad.
Consider Bartenders As Future Boyfriends, Not Future Husbands: No offense if your current sweetie slings drinks to make some dough, but when you're abroad, bartenders are a no-no if you're thinking long-term. Typically, both of you understand the short time-span you're given, and hopefully both of you can have fun and enjoy the experience. But remember, bartenders have been through many semesters, and likely, many girlfriends. As long as you can keep the mindset that this is *probably* a temporary relationship, you'll come out on top. Are there exceptions? Of course. I have a friend who met her husband when she was studying and he was behind the bar. They're married and perfectly happy today. But that's the point: I know ONE COUPLE that made this work. I can't even begin to count the number of past "couples" who didn't quite turn out that way. My advice? Have fun, don't make any serious commitments, and whatever you do, DON'T let him hold onto your favorite stuffed bear named Spencer. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience, of course. (I STILL WANT HIM BACK!!!)
Get Drunk and Get Home: If you're out partying, which I'm sure you might do a little of while you're abroad, make sure to have one drink and then go right home afterwards. HA! I had you there for a second, right? It's pretty obvious that your semester abroad is about having some serious fun, and we're pretty sure alcohol will be included in that fun. There may come a point where you over-do it and might need a little assistance getting home. By assistance we mean a dedicated friend who will keep you from busting your ass on the cobblestone while distracting you from stealing your pint glass and simultaneously convincing you that "Yes, you look beautiful", even if there's mascara all over your forehead. It's funny 'cause it's true. But please let it be a FRIEND helping you instead of some random guy that randomly walked up to you and "looks nice". There are tons of great guys in the world but most of them probably don't hang out at bars waiting to escort beautiful, intoxicated girls home. Play it on the safe side so you wake up looking at the porcelain throne feeling sick instead of looking at a stranger and feeling regret.
Birth Control It's important to keep yourself protected from ALL things - especially when you'll be in an environment with tons of new people, new places, and of course, alcohol. Make sure you take the steps to cover ALL your bases before you get on that plane across the ocean. If you’re on birth control currently, and plan on staying on it while in Italy – it’s important to see your doctor before you leave and let him or her know of your future travel plans so they can prescribe you enough medication for the time you’ll be away. You can typically get up to three or four months worth of your prescription in advance. It IS possible to get certain medications in Italy but I’m sure it would involve a lot more complications and effort. And come on, who needs more things to worry about besides making it through class hungover?
Emergency Contraception: Something you may not think about but of course accidents/emergencies happen is the Morning After Pill. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it but if not, it is a pill you can take the morning after (or up to 3 days after) unprotected sex or an “accident”. It might sound funny but trust me, being in the situation in a foreign country is totally NOT FUNNY. No matter how unlikely you think this may be for you, you wanted to be prepared. In Italy it is available in pharmacies and hospitals, but it technically requires medical prescription. I’m sure there are ways around this, but there are also other nearby countries that you can more easily purchase without prescription the pill should you be traveling when a situation arises. This is a great reference to look at if you need further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_contraceptive_availability_by_country#Italy.
Basically, what I'm telling you is get out there, have your fun, but make sure that fun doesn't lead to long-term consequences that can hurt your heart, mind, or body. Unless gaining twenty pounds on a diet of wine, nutella-flavored gelato, and paninis counts. In that case, go for it.