It’s February! It’s the month of romance! This month, we will publish some articles celebrating the month of dates, flowers, chocolates, kisses and cuddles. Stay tuned for more! Even those of you who are not currently romantically attached. We have some for you, too.
So you’ve moved to a new country, you have a new neighborhood, a new job and many exciting prospects ahead of you. If you’re in a relationship, you already have your loved ones to fill in your social hours, but if you’re single, you’re faced with the exhilarating, and sometimes daunting, prospect of dating in a foreign country.
Perhaps you can’t wait to get out there, but perhaps you’re scared and intimidated by the idea of dating in a country that isn’t your own. Where do you start? What do you say? And what about cultural barriers and customs?
Here are a few tips for dating and finding love in a foreign country.
Familiar yourself with expiration dating
The term “expiration dating” is often used when referring to the dating world of expats. Those looking for someone from their own nationality in a foreign city are usually forced to be content with short term relationships, as finding their match in a small pool of potential partners is often difficult. This may be a discouraging thought if you’re looking for something long term, but expiration dating could also be a fun way to get to know your new city through the eyes of those who have lived here a bit longer than you. It also reminds you not to go on the first date with high hopes that will end up being shattered. Have fun and get to know people from your own nationality that also made the move to become an expat.
Cultural differences can be great
The concept of cultural differences is thrown around loosely these days, but it still has a place when talking about dating. When you’re living in a new country, you’re prepared for being emerged into different cultures at work, on the bus, and even in your neighborhood. Yet many people remain uncomfortable with cross-cultural and cross-national dating.
You may find someone you really love who isn’t from the same culture, race or nationality as you. Perhaps it’s the first time you truly feel as if you’re connecting with someone. This is wonderful and you should give love across cultural boundaries a chance. Because when you think about it, there are multitudes more potential partners for you once you open up to dating a resident of your new country or even another expat from a country other than your own.
Cultural differences can be hard
Perhaps you fell in love with someone from a different nationality, race or culture and you form a strong relationship, which you want to continue long term. The other person might be perfect for you, but their family responsibilities or customs may be different from yours. Some more traditional families expect certain commitments, sacrifices or a certain way of life from a spouse. You might not be willing to make such changes, as it doesn’t fit into your own cultural framework. Perhaps you or your family has certain expectations for your long-term partner that they aren’t willing to make. This may either mean that one of you will have to give up your own ideals and the way of life you see yourself leading, or it might mean that your relationship will end. So although you might strike gold when dating across nationalities and races, you may also face certain obstacles.
Where to start looking
So now that you are ready to jump in and start dating, where exactly do you start? Most expats tend to meet romantic partners through friends or family living in the same city. This might be a great reason for you to make friends and to phone up the people you know who are living in the same city as you. A surprising, yet effective place for expats to meet other expats is at a bar. Each city tends to have an area or certain restaurants frequented by expats. Because of its known nature is an expat hangout; people tend to be open to meeting others.
Some expats also report finding people to date at their place of work. But if you’re looking to broaden your network in a foreign city, it’s not ideal to limit yourself to the sphere you’re already familiar with. A last place to start looking for love is online. There are many dating platforms specifically aimed at expats and these tend to be very effective, connecting like-minded people.