It is common for a lot of international students dating in a foreign country; however, many of them find it difficult and confusing due to cultural differences. There are several dating terms used in the country such as “just dating” or “going steady” or “being exclusive” or “committed”.
When someone says “just dating” that would generally mean they probably go out with many people but are not attached to any one of them. However, when someone says “going steady” or “being exclusive” or “committed”, it means that they are serious about the relationship, and have decided to see each other only.
Another dating concept that may confuse international students is the issue of “Loving someone” and “Being in love with someone”. We may use these statements invariably in general world, but in the US dating world they mean two different things. If someone tells you that they love you but not in love with you means that they like you as a person and the time they spend with you, but may not be attached with you.
Dating norms and meaning may vary in different cultures and countries. Generally, dating can be defined as a social engagement between two persons that may have a romantic character. It can be confusing on the manner one should carry out the first few dates, especially if your date is from a different culture or background. Here are a few tips:
- Develop a common interest by getting involved in some activity either on or off campus. This will help in building small conversations
- Give a small compliment to let them know you are interested in getting to know them better
- Suggest a casual outing or activity you can do together
- Make sure the place you choose for the date is comfortable to both the parties
- Usually, the guy pays on the first few dates even if the girl offers but there are no fixed rules. You can decide on how to act depending on the situation
- Make eye contact, and be casual about it – don’t keep staring at him/her
- Avoid showing your nervousness (in case you are)
- Be courteous to your date and pay attention to him/her instead of looking at your watch/mobile – it may appear to the other person that you are getting bored/not interested or the other person may find it rude as well
- Maintain a mutually comfortable distance
- If in doubt, wait for some feedback before planning on the next outing
Making New Friends
Making new friends comes naturally for some of the students, and for some it can be quite cumbersome. Following tips will help you in getting to know fellow students and build friendships:
- Attend orientation: As you enter this new phase of life, you should attend the new international students orientation conducted by the International Affairs Office. This is a great platform to learn about various things such as American culture, campus life, immigration basics etc. and also to meet other new students. When you meet
other international students facing similar anxiety and challenges, it may act as a consoling factor that others are going through a similar situation like yours, and you are not alone out there
- Get involved: One of the best ways to make new friends is by getting involved in various activities on campus or by joining student organizations or clubs of your choice. Sports can also be a great way of getting involved and these activities easily turn into social activities and you’ll find yourself going to the movies or for a bite to eat with fellow members
- Conversations: Actively listen to the conversations around you and try to comment on the topic and be part of it. Such conversations, although might seem random, but are a good method to break the ice. Be friendly in your tone and gestures, and soon people will know you are a good person. This will help them recollect the next time they see you and eventually you will become friends
- Be outgoing: When someone invites you to go somewhere, be sure to accept the invitation. Go to campus parties and university-sponsored events
- Classes: Try to reach your class a few minutes before they commence, and use the extra time to talk to your peers. A few start up conversations can involve homework assignments, upcoming tests, campus activities, etc
- Study in public: Instead of studying in your dorm room try studying in the various study areas provided on campus, such as library, dorm study rooms, or the benches around campus. You’ll get in plenty of study time and have the opportunity to meet new people along with that
- Get a job on campus: It is relatively easy to make friends on the job since everybody can relate to one another and may face similar challenges etc.