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Dating Customs Across the World Told by Our International Students

Imagine going to study abroad to a different country. Most people in this situation would face a lot of culture shock. Now imagine navigating the already difficult world of romance and dating. We asked our international boarding students what they think about dating in the United States, and how it’s different from the dating customs in their home countries.

“In Ukraine, we don’t bring each other home,” said one TA international student.  “We mostly go out and hang out. Go out to eat.” This is a common theme in European countries. Most students agree that hanging out with your boyfriend or girlfriend at home is uncommon. “On the weekends I would hang out with my boyfriend and our friends. We’d go out.”

Skylar Nguyen ‘18 from Vietnam said in her home country if you go out on a date and kiss someone, it’s a big deal and you’re probably dating. She also adds,  “I wouldn’t meet my boyfriend’s parents until I knew it was serious. We probably wouldn’t introduce each other to our parents until after six months.”

Italian Student Riccardo Picozzi ‘18 agrees, that unlike most American teens who seem to be very open with their parents as soon as they meet someone he is not likely to introduce his girlfriends to his family for quite some time, if ever.  “There’s no necessity in meeting each other’s parents. I would never meet the parents of my girlfriend.”

Sabrina Nucciotti ’18

His Italian peer Sabrina Nucciotti ‘18 said,  “I think in Italy it’s very important when you are in a relationship, very important. It’s very serious it’s not a joke.” She agrees you definitely need to be very serious about your significant other before introducing them to your parents, but says this is because, “The boyfriend becomes an important part of our lives, it’s not just for fun. We know you can’t play with the feelings of somebody.”

According to research done by which polled 100,000 British people, on average people in England are most likely to introduce their new boy or girlfriend to their parents after 12 dates or six weeks.

Carla Gonzalez ’18

Carla Gonzalez ‘18 said it’s hard to find time for your significant other in her home country, and therefore you don’t see each other as often as typically in the United States. “Basically in Spain, it’s really different because you leave your house for school at eight in the morning and come back at six in the evening. You have sport and dance practices after 6 pm and then you have homework to do.”

She continued, “you don’t have any time during the week to see your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s impossible to see each other during the week. I only had time to hang out with him on the weekends, with him and my friends. Here in the US couples want to see each other every day. It’s overwhelming sometimes.”

Annick Umuliza ’17

TA Alum Annick Umuliza ‘17 from Rwanda provides a different geographic perspective on dating. She said, “In high school, back in Rwanda, you’re not allowed to date until it’s time to get married.  You’re only supposed to date when you’re out of college or university.”

Information provided by Countries and their Cultures shows there is quite heavy pressure on marrying and having children in Rwanda, however you can choose your partner unlike in the past when most marriages were arranged.

Umuliza said, “After coming to the US, I’m a little more chilled about dating. If I’m mature to do something, I’m gonna do it. I would say growing up in an African tradition has helped me to know my limits between me and somebody. I know if I don’t wanna do something, I’m not gonna do it, that’s what being brought up in Africa taught me.” She does keep her more traditional custom in mind while here though explaining, “At the end of the day, I’m still going home, and I want to fit with the tradition.”

According to the Daily Mail, Poland celebrates Dyngus day when Polish men brush women with pussy willow branches as a form of showing affection. In Niger, men get dressed up and dance in the hopes of attracting a suitor. Lastly, the traditional Croatian marriage proposal begins with the man giving his bride to be an apple that has a coin stuck in it. No matter what the customs for dating are where you live, listening to your own heart and mind are the best approach to relationships!

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