The world is getting smaller. The combination of an increasingly rapid advancement of technology and the expansion of the global market has created a world in which…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We’ve all heard this before, and quite frankly, it’s old news. The real story isn’t the world getting smaller, it’s the fact that the dating scene is getting bigger.
With the growing popularity of studying abroad and the numerous travel opportunities presented to students the chances of meeting your soul-mate are getting better. We’re no longer stuck scouring classes, the library, or a bar for potential hook-ups; given a couple of months overseas (or weeks in some cases) and a cursory understanding of a foreign language the number of places to meet the next Mr. or Mrs. Right are almost endless.
Why fall in love in a foreign land? It could be an exotic locale, a sexy accent, or maybe you’ve simply seen everything the opposite sex in your country has to offer and you’re desperate for something new. Whatever the reason, it seems like more and more people return home with stories of whirlwind love affairs.
This isn’t something that just happens on bad TV shows or in romantic comedies anymore; it could happen to someone you know. It could happen to you.
My roommate Mark recently returned from a two week trip to Costa Rica. Guess which part of the trip he liked most: adventures in the rainforest, the three-toed sloth he saw fall out of a tree, or surfing? Answer: none of the above. It was a Danish girl named Marie.
With students from around the world traveling, the chances are pretty high that the foreigner you fall in love with won’t even be from the country you are visiting. That’s exactly what happened to my roommate. Marie was traveling for a few months before returning home to Copenhagen, to begin her university studies, and just happened to cross paths with my friend.
People travel for a lot of reasons; a few of which are new cultures, famous landmarks and new people. Travelers are, by definition, open to new experiences and new people. Is it really that strange to meet someone you can connect with quickly while traveling? You’re surrounded by people who share an obvious common interest, and connecting quickly is the name of the game. There’s usually not much time to waste.
When it was all said and done Mark spent a total of seven days with Marie. He fell fast and he fell hard. Even though it was only a week, he probably did more in that short period than most do in a month.
It’s easy to keep things fun and spontaneous when your courtship includes repelling down a waterfalls, hiking in the jungle and bungee jumping. That’s exactly how Mark won Marie’s heart. Of course, the affair is almost always destined to fail. Eventually, you have to return to your homeland and leave behind or say goodbye to your new love.
However, those advancements in technology mentioned earlier do come in handy at that point. I watched Mark write and receive wall posts on Facebook the lengths of which I had never seen—they were more like novellas than posts—for weeks after his return.
Instant messages, MySpace, and regular old e-mails can keep you connected long after you part, but it’s not the same. You come home to your boring old job, boring old bills and boring old life. It’s nothing like the exciting conditions that you met under, and it might be hard, but eventually you move on.
Mark contemplated blowing his savings to spend a month in Mexico, where Marie ended up after Costa Rica, but decided against it after his car caught on fire while driving it. Now he spends his time wondering, “Donde esta Marie?”