Cultural Experience | Resources

The Reality of Falling in Love While Studying Abroad

You might not think that it will happen to you, because, well, what are the chances of falling for someone halfway across the world? 

But believe it or not, I told myself the same thing and I was terribly wrong. The reality is that it can happen to anyone.

Falling in love while you’re studying abroad is kind of like living in a bubble. It’s all beautiful, fine, and dandy when you’re on the inside, but eventually, when it pops, the magic fades and it’s back to reality. That’s not to say, however, that falling in love on an exchange isn’t possible or something to give up hope on.

Before you ask, yes, I am indeed a victim of the study abroad love bug. My story is long and complicated, but it’s an experience I certainly wouldn’t go back and change.

Why, you ask? The answer is twofold. You’re caught up in a whirlwind of travel, excitement, and new opportunity and through meeting numerous new people in this elated state, it’s quite likely that you’ll end up “clicking” with someone you never knew existed. Chances are, they’ll even have a wicked accent to draw you in that much easier. Before you know it you might be making up failed excuses as to why you shouldn’t start a relationship while you’re abroad, but over time (even four months abroad is enough time), you might end up changing your mind completely.

Here’s what you might want to know about falling in love abroad before you let the love bug take over:

1. It can teach you invaluable lessons: If you start a romantic relationship while you’re studying abroad, chances are it will be with someone from a different country. Dating someone with a different vocabulary, accent, customs, and even values can teach you a lot about not only them but yourself as well and what you value in life.

2. You’ll fall fast and hard: Studying abroad can inflict a kind of illusionary state on a person at first. You’re in a new country, experiencing new things every single day and the excitement seldom ends. This means that it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and fall for someone because you’ll be less focused on the reality of everyday life and more focused on enjoying your time and meeting new people.

3. Eventually, you’ll have to do long distance: Despite how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise, unfortunately, it’s inevitable. However, long distance is possible, despite what many might say. I’ve been there and done that, I am just now aware that it requires the right kind of person, and recognizing whether you can be a part of one or not is the first question you should be asking yourself.

4. Time differences might play a role: Long distance is one thing, but long distance with a significant time difference is another. Eight or more hours is more than you might think—consider the fact that he or she might have to sleep while you’re just waking up from your day.

5. It will be an exciting time in your life: Undoubtedly, being in love and having a S/O will be an incredibly exhilarating time in your life where you can start fresh with someone new without the interference of anyone you know from back home. Not only does this let you meet anyone you want to, but the external pressure to develop the relationship is minimal.

6. No one wants to think about it, but it is the truth. Falling in love with someone who has a life in a different country than your own can end badly if the relationship isn’t serious enough to move into long distance or if neither person is ready to move abroad.

Falling in love while you’re abroad is not necessarily something you should avoid, but it’s something that you might have to end up thinking about, whether you believe in true love or not. Studying abroad will be one of the most unbelievable times in your life and if love happens to be in the equation, then I say let it take you where it wants to go, so long as you have the potential realities in mind.

The Reality of Falling in Love While Studying Abroad

Roslyn Kent

University of Calgary | 10 stories

Born and raised in North Vancouver, BC, Roslyn is an aspiring photographer, part time ski bum and sushi fanatic. She's currently in her fourth and final year of communications studies at the University of Calgary and after graduating, she's keen on pursuing a career in social media and marketing. Roslyn spent her second semester of her third year studying abroad in Leeds, England and she's been on the go ever since! Follow her on Instagram (@worldlywandering) to keep up with all her exciting adventures.

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