Love in a Time of Globalization
Contributed by Victoria James
How many of you have ever dated a foreigner?
How many of you would like to date a foreigner?
How many of you are married to a foreigner?
These would have been silly questions for our parents and grandparents because, according to my Nanna, normal people just didn’t do that. “That” being study, work, live and start families abroad.
I asked around and realized a lot of my friends (both guys and girls) have dated globally as well; a rough outline included German, Brazilian, South African, Argentinean, Spanish, French, Latvian and Swedish. While I have yet to figure out of a way of making Tim Bergling fall in love with me (or any Swede for that matter), I still haven’t lost hope.
We live in such a globalized society that it’s normal to walk down the street in cities like New York, London or Rio and meet people from other sides of the planet. No wonder, ordinary people now enter international relationships and not just royalty anymore, they’re cool!
A 2011 article in the Economist describes the dynamics of today’s demography concerning international marriage: “International marriages matter partly because they reflect—and result from—globalisation. As people holiday or study abroad, or migrate to live and work, the visitors meet and marry locals.” I’m thinking of my friend Emily who studied abroad in Italy in 2005 and is now married with kids in Italy in 2013.
The article also analyzes marriages in Asia and Europe, pointing out that, “around one in five marriages in Sweden, Belgium and Austria involves a foreign partner.” Looks like there’s hope for me and Tim after all!
Drawing from personal experience, some of the best relationships I have been in, occurred with foreigners. In a Woody Allen-esque twist, usually one of our visas ran out or one of us had to return home to finish school. In my compatriots’ defense, I’ve had wonderful relationships with my fellow citizens as well.
While international love and relationships are complicated, they can be rewarding and exciting in many ways national ones cannot. But a word to the wise: you can only show someone how to drink mate tea, prepare a caipirinha or dance salsa so many times before the foreign fairy dust fades and you’re left with a regular girl or guy. So choose wisely; just because he or she holds dual citizenship, a degree in architecture and speaks four languages fluently, doesn’t guarantee domestic bliss.
So whether your next partner is Dutch, Moroccan, Korean or as American as apple pie, having excellent communication skills and staying in shape will likely ensure the relationship’s success. Learning each other’s cultures and native tongues doesn’t hurt either- if only Rosetta Stone offered courses in Brooklynese!
Photos by Victoria James