Traveling abroad can be a life-changing experience. After all, it’s not every day that you get to experience the cultures and customs of another country. When you get the chance, you need to take advantage of every opportunity. However, it’s important to be prepared for any and all circumstances when in a foreign country, especially when it comes to dating. If you’re looking to date abroad, here are some tips that will ensure you’re well-prepared for a smooth and safe dating experience.
1. Prep your self-confidence
If you lack self-confidence, you might not be mentally prepared to date. Physical insecurities like acne or thinning hair can tarnish your body image and distract you from a smooth and enjoyable date. When physical insecurities start to get the best of you, try accepting and embracing them by working toward self-love through practices like journaling, meditation, or therapy. “If self-love practices alone still leave you feeling a bit hesitant, you can talk to a doctor about ways to manage your insecurities. For example, they can guide you toward an effective over-the-counter acne cleanser or prescribe a daily oral treatment for thinning hair. Accepting, embracing, and addressing your anxieties– whatever they may be– will help you gain the courage and motivation to get to know some amazing new people.”
2. Study the language and culture beforehand
It can help to have some knowledge of another country’s slang and customs before going on dates to avoid any verbal and nonverbal miscommunications. For example, the word “home” means mold in Finland and man in Catalan. Perhaps more shockingly, the English word “kiss” means something entirely different in Sweden… urine. Yikes. Nonverbal cues can also mislead your date: waving your hand to call someone closer to you can be considered offensive in some cultures. Small acts can make a big difference on a date abroad, so familiarize yourself with the customs to prevent giving someone the wrong message or turning them away unintentionally.
3. Fill in a friend
Whether you’re traveling solo in a new country or have tons of friends from a study abroad program, someone should always know where you’re going before a date. While it may not be likely that something bad would happen, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious! Fill someone in on all the details surrounding your date. Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and at what time. You can also send them a picture of your date so they’re familiar with who you’re going to meet. If you have a smartphone, you can also share your location with a relative or friend close by who could help if you ever feel the need to leave suddenly. Get in this habit before all of your dates to ensure the safest experience possible.
4. Do your research
People often joke about the concept of “Facebook stalking”, but in the case of dating abroad, it is seriously recommended. If you schedule a date with someone you met on a dating app and you don’t know much about them, do some research. Find out as much information as you can about them. That way, you can determine whether you’re interested and if it’s a good idea to go on a date in the first place. A simple Google search could give you a lot of important information, as would a read-through of their social media profiles. Look for social media red flags like questionable photos or aggressive status updates. Then use your best judgement!
5. Don’t ignore the red flags in person
If you’re a person who likes to see the good in someone, you might need a little push when it comes to being cautious. Even if you’re vigilant for red flags, some can be subtle and hard to catch on a date. For example, if your date is talking about themselves the majority of the time, you might be dealing with a narcissist. This could make for a troublesome relationship. Similarly, first date mistakes, like having too many drinks or treating the staff at a restaurant poorly, can indicate inappropriate behavior or personality traits. Keep an open mind, but if you notice any patterns, don’t look the other way. It’s okay to be picky and put yourself first.
Dating abroad can be an exhilarating journey. Just make sure that you’re having fun and staying safe. Stay confident, mind the cultural differences and be patient! Getting to know people with different life experiences can be an awesome opportunity. Make memories and stay safe!