Soon enough, you’re riding on the back of his Vespa through winding roads to watch the sunset from a spot that only locals know about thinking, is this real life??
That’s exactly what happened to me when I studied abroad in Granada, Spain last spring and, BOY, do I wish I had someone warn me that such a romance isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
Add to that the cultural differences in communication styles.
People from different cultures can use the same words to convey drastically different meanings, and that just makes this particular obstacle harder to overcome.
How many travel and expat bloggers out there have wonderfully successful international relationships that they are more than happy to share with the world?
As much as I love reading those stories, from my own years spent in Spain I have learned that dating abroad is not all sunshine and fairytales, and it has been idealized online far too often.
You’ll also learn at a faster pace because you’ll (hopefully) have more fun in the process.
With a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can practice conversations without the usual fear of making mistakes.
If you’re only talking about day-to-day matters and choosing the type of cat you’re about to adopt into your home then you might not run into much trouble, but if something serious happens – illness, issues regarding visas and residency, etc – not being able to understand one another, or make yourself understood, can be a recipe for disaster.
I wouldn’t trade in my experience for the world, but I want to share some of the darker sides of falling in love abroad that no one talks about. I met a fantastic guy, I became fluent in Spanish from constantly conversing with my novio and his friends and family in their language.
I learned colloquial terms and sayings I never would have known and got an insiders look into lesser-known spots in the city.
Oh, and I got to fall deeply in love in one of the most romantic cities in the world…I guess that’s pretty cool too.
But, just like any relationship, there are some aspects that are extremely difficult and painful.