A two-part Discussion Topic composed by an ISR member speaking from first-hand experience
Look Before You Leap...
If you’re a single international educator, living overseas and thinking about (or are already) dating a host national, you’ll be faced with some heartfelt discussions as you make the leap into a serious, perhaps permanent, relationship.
Dating in a foreign land can and will invite a slew of new issues, especially concerning your differences and how perspectives and cultural norms shape and guide your relationship. This is far more complex than you’ll encounter dating back home where both partners subscribe to the same cultural history with an intrinsic understanding of basic expectations. Not necessarily so between couples from two distinctly different cultures.
From birth, we’re bound by the norms of our culture. As mentioned, bi-cultural, bilingual partnerships are inevitably faced with some tough decisions: Will you marry? If so, where? Back home (for you) or where you met? Where will you settle? Whose family will be seeing you more often? Whose aging parents and family will benefit from you living close? Who will make the sacrifices regarding family/friends living a long flight away? Will both partners work? How about home and property purchases? And most importantly and consequential, what about starting a family?
With effort and mutual understanding, partners can overcome obstacles, discovering that love is love and we’re all human, regardless of customs and habits. Still, there are so many variables that make for a challenging course, it’s wise to consider what you are/are not willing to do for love before you get in over your head and your judgement becomes blurred.
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(ISR NOTE: Stay tuned for Part 2 next week: After the Leap — The consequences of an overseas relationship that doesn’t work out