Ah, Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love in all its forms. As our Facebook fan Abdirahman pointed out, love is universal – whatever country you’re from and whatever country you’re in, love is always the same.
Dating, however, is not. This week we’ll be looking at what it’s like to date as an international student in the U.S., and particularly what it’s like to date someone from a different culture.
To get you started, International Student-s has a guide to dating for international students, which goes over some of the differences you might encounter. For example, they warn:
If you are a man and ask a girl out for a date and she agrees, this doesn’t mean she wants to have sex with you. She just wants to go out to a club, restaurant or wherever, have fun and get to know you.
But on the other hand:
If you’re an international student coming from a socially conservative country, you may be surprised to see people freely express their sexuality. In the US, people are free to express their love for one another in public. They call it PDA, or Public Display of Affection.
The norms around dating can be so confusing in the U.S. that New York University has a whole webpage dedicated to advice on dating for international students, and one of their biggest tips is, “The social rules governing romantic relationships in the United States are fluid and vary greatly among individuals, so they can seem loose and unclear.”
But Valentine’s Day reminds us that love can overcome even the greatest cultural differences, as this story of two UNC graduate students, one from China and one from the U.S., proves.
So, what do you want to know about dating an American or dating in the U.S.? How similar do you think it is to what you’ve seen in the movies? What do you think would be the biggest difference compared to what you’re used to?
If you’ve had an experience dating someone from a different culture, what have you learned?