What Happens Abroad Stays Abroad?

Going on a Student Exchange While Being in a Committed Relationship





emerging adulthood, international exchange programs, intimate relationship, student mobility, study abroad


While substantial research focuses on genuine long-distance relationships, there is a lack of studies dealing with temporary long-distance relationships due to studies abroad. The present study with Austrian students tried to uncover differences between couples who terminated versus those who sustained their relationship during the exchange period. Participants (N = 119, 73.9% females, Mage = 24 years) were asked about perceived changes in the relationship due to their exchange experience, which they mainly spent abroad in Europe. Couples sustaining their relationship had more in-person contact. Thus, visits are essential for maintaining long-distance relationships during time abroad. In addition, participants still in their relationship after the exchange noticed different effects of changes on their relationship than did couples who separated.

Author Biographies

Bettina Baldt, University of Vienna, Austria

BETTINA BALDT finished her degree at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria. She is a young researcher with a specialization in developmental psychology and on the transition from adolescence to adulthood. In her doctoral thesis she focuses on medical decision-making under the aspect of patient involvement and values.

Ulrike Sirsch, University of Vienna, Austria

ULRIKE SIRSCH is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria. Her main research interests focus in the field of developmental psychology regarding adolescence and emerging adulthood on becoming adult. Her research interests also include international experiences of emerging adults as part of their identity exploration.


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How to Cite

Baldt, B., & Sirsch, U. (2020). What Happens Abroad Stays Abroad? Going on a Student Exchange While Being in a Committed Relationship. Journal of International Students, 10(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v0i0.1047



Research Articles