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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Falling in love with someone from a foreign land: Advantages and disadvantages of dating a foreign exchange student or while being one

I’m in love with a foreign exchange student. How do I handle my relationship with a foreign exchange student? Is it okay to date a foreign exchange student? I’m a foreign exchange student, could I date someone in the country where I’m studying? Will my relationship with a student from another country last? What are the advantages and disadvantages of dating or having a relationship with or while being a foreign exchange student?
Long distance relationships:
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If any of the above has crossed your mind or you’ve found yourself searching for answers then this is the perfect place to start.

Foreign exchange students:
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What is a foreign exchange student?

A foreign exchange student is someone who is studying, doing practicals, or carrying out an internship in another country. This usually lasts anything from a month to a year or two. The main point of being a foreign exchange student is that you’re meant to obtain your qualification or experience and then take it with you back to your home country; in other words, if you’re a foreign exchange student the plan is not to live in the country that you’re studying or getting experience in but to go back to your country of origin after a pre-determined period.

What are the advantages of dating a foreign exchange student or being in a relationship while being a foreign exchange student?

Dating someone from a different part of the world is just like dating anyone else. All relationships are valuable and there should be no marked difference in the depth of the relationship you can form with someone from another country verses someone from the same country as you. When all is put a side and you don't pay any attention to any racial, cultural or distance differences, you could actually find true love in someone from a different part of the world.

Besides the fact that foreign romance has the potential to be the 'true love' kind of romance you may have been searching for, there are many other advantages to dating or having a relationship with someone from another country. Below are a few examples:

Advantages of dating or being in a relationship with someone from a different country or continent

Intercultural relationships:
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     ·         You will be able to learn a lot about something new or different – a different country, different language, different continent, different religion, etc
     ·         It is always interesting to experience different courtship habits of someone from a different part of the world; you might be treated with more respect, made to feel a little more special or given a whole lot more attention dating him or her than you did or usually do with local guys or girls.
     ·         If things don’t work out you don’t need to worry about an awkward moment occurring while bumping into an ex seeing as you’ll be in two completely different countries.
     ·         Watching movies like Lizzie McGuire or Letters to Juliet make the thought of a foreign romance seem completely breath taking. By getting into a foreign romance of your own you will be able to experience exactly what it feels like and judge for yourself just how romantic you think it is.
     ·         Everybody could do with a little change every now and then and ‘difference’ is always great. It doesn’t get anymore different or any bigger a change than dating, kissing or holding hands with someone from another country. Think about it this way, if you’re from the USA and he / she is from Sweden, how many of your friends or family members could say I’ve kissed a Swedish guy or girl? Capitalise on the opportunity, what do you have to loose?
     ·         When all is said and done you will be able to differentiate between local guys / girls and those from a different part of the world based on experience and not what you’ve read or seen in the movies.

Disadvantages of dating or being in a relationship with someone from a different country or continent
Long |Distance relationships:
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·         The biggest and often saddest factor of a foreign exchange student and local relationship is that as has been mentioned, he or she is going to go back to their country of origin after obtaining whatever it is that he or she went to the foreign country for.
If you’ve developed deep feelings for each other this could only end negatively for the both of you. Depending on the situation and means by which the student came to the country (commonly by a scholarship or financing through parents) there will be no way for him or her to stay in the country after he or she has obtained their qualification or experience.
·         Miscommunication is often plentiful due to language or cultural differences.
·         If your differences are evident with regards to clear racial differences and you live in a community or society which isn’t very open-minded, this could cause tension or negative attention.

As can clearly be seen, the advantages to dating someone from a different country often out weight the disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage though, that of the one having to go back to his or her country of origin, although being just one disadvantage has the strength to over-write all the advantages.
You might be able to get into a relationship or fling with a foreign student (or someone in the country where you’re studying if you’re a foreign student) knowing that due to the fact that you’ll eventually end up  in different countries the relationship won’t last forever and be fine with it initially but when love takes over you might feel differently about it.
True love lasts forever:
No matter what...

Everything can be worked around though

Every kind of relationship has it's fair share of challenges and ups and downs but there is nothing that can't be changed, worked around or compromised on if you both love or care for each other deeply.
A REAL true love story was evident in an interview with a previous foreign exchange student who fell in love with a local guy where she was studying. They are now happily married. You could read the full story here, it is highly encouraging and allows you to see how to deal with different obstacles within your own relationship or future relationships.

In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.
By Hans Nouwens
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