“There are plenty of other fish in the sea!” It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard more than once or twice, and sadly, for all its cliché, it’s true! The problem is, we hardly think about how big that “sea” is; and let me tell you—it’s HUGE. Dating and romance are pretty universal, but there are a few things that translate differently in the world of study abroad.
Dating someone in your program: Some abroad programs have 400+ people and some only have 10, but regardless of size, dating someone in your program can be tricky. Having seen a few instances of this so far in my time abroad, the key to any successful relationship abroad (or at home) is COMMUNICATION. Blasting “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” around the person you’re dating is not the same as talking to them, as much as it thrills your inner 14-year-old angsty self. It is essential to make sure that you are both on the same page about where you’re coming from, what you want from your time abroad and your level of commitment. Not talking and assuming things will only leave someone hurt and frustrated, which is the last thing you need to deal with while abroad.
Dating someone from the area: It may sound like some ABC Family or Lifetime movie special (Will & Kate lifetime movie anyone?) but you can meet and date a local! Now, you may not meet the next in line for the throne, or a Duke or a Lord, but dating even a normal foreign guy can be a fun learning experience! First of all, in each country, there are differences in the dating scene in general. For example, in the UK, guys like to do the approaching and are willing to buy you a drink, but if you get too pushy, you’ll push them away. Finding out what’s the “norm” in another country can be confusing, but again, as long as there is communication, you’ll both find that you have more in common than you originally thought.
Not Dating: There is nothing—NOTHING—wrong with being single. And there is also nothing wrong with the occasional random hookup—as long as that is what you’re looking for. Like most parties at Bucknell, if there’s fun music and dancing, chances are you’re going to attract someone, and then maybe dancing turns into kissing. As long as this kissing is mutual, GO FOR IT. You may not know their name or ever see them again, but when you’re young, you have to make mistakes. And kissing random strangers in a bar or a club in another country is totally acceptable. Plus, who doesn’t need a little extra practice for when it really counts? ;)
Maybe you’ll find Prince Charming while abroad and he’ll whisk you off to his castle and you’ll live happily every after. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll kiss someone and never see him or her again. Maybe not. Maybe you’ll find someone to go steady with for the whole semester. Or maybe you’ll be flying solo the whole time. Regardless, communication and having fun are the most important things to keep in mind while dating (or whatever) while abroad. And when in doubt, T. Swift will have your back and know exactly how you feel: “Mean,” “Mine,” “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” or the all time fave, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Like ever.