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Five Stages of a Study Abroad Romance

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Five Stages of a Study Abroad Romance | YMCA Global Study

One of the best parts about studying abroad? The new people you’ll meet, the random group of people in your study abroad class who inevitably become your family while you’re away. But as the story goes every year, there are always at least two people who become the group’s token couple. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are the stages of a study abroad romance so you know exactly what to expect!

Stage One: The Spark

Maybe you had the same class or got assigned in a group project together (this totally sounds like a rom com movie). Whichever way you met, sparks were most definitely flying and it wasn’t long until you were always sitting next to each other, inseparable after class, having a good time (wink wink!). It’s safe to say that’d you’d be into the honeymoon phase of your romance, basically being obsessed with each other and enjoying each other’s company, which bring us to…


Stage Two: Learning About a New Culture

It’s amazing what you can learn in just a few weeks. A 3-week study abroad program was always going to be intense but you never thought that you’d feel this comfortable in your new adopted home. You’ll learn a lot about your partner’s culture too, you’ll argue about whether it’s called a parma or a parmi (it’s 100% parma!), find out that every state in Australia has a different word for potato cake and eventually start building a case as to why they should be the first to come and visit you, once you return back home.

Make sure you go into this with an open mind and an open heart and be ready to have some interesting discussions!

Stage Three: Introducing To Your Partner to Your Friends

It won’t be long until it’s time for you to introduce the person you’re seeing to all your family and friends. Chances are, you’ve probably already been doing this without even knowing it. It’s normally about half way through week 2 when you notice that your friends keep popping up in your inbox wanting to know all the goss about your trip so far and mum keeps probing you with ‘what else is news?’ when you Skype home. It’s safe to say, everyone has definitely noticed the same person constantly popping up on your news feed and in your tagged photos on Facebook.

This is where shit starts to get real, when it gets to the meet your friends stage we all know it’s time for stage four…

Stage Four: The Dreaded “what are we” Talk

Whether you’re abroad for a year or a few weeks, the problem with dating abroad is the ever-looming end date for when you need to go back home. You can make it clear at the beginning that it’s a short-term thing, or you can see where it goes and sort the details out later. But sooner or later, you are going to have to have the awkward “what now?” chat. For this stage, it’s important for both sides to be kind and respectful. Make sure to establish clear expectations, don’t just keep it up after you leave the country if you’re not sincere about it. But if you’re both serious, go for it, and good luck!


Stage Five: Saying Goodbye.

The weeks in which you return back home can be hard for many reasons, if you’re missing someone it can be harder. In the next few months you’ll be put to the test to see how willing you are to make it work. Long distance relationships are hard, but rewarding if you find a way around it.

Or you might just take the whole experience with a grain of salt and take it for what it is… an amazing experience! You might not see each other again, but the memories, good or bad, will have taught you life lessons that you’ll take with you wherever you go. So, whatever you decide with your abroad romance, you should be prepared for a bitter sweet goodbye.

Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts and Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan

You can read more work from Sophie on her website or on Uni Junkee


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