Dating can be well, tricky, at the best of times. Then add the element of a new country and a new dating culture! Student Ambassador Alyssa shares her experience of dating in Ireland as an American student where she has met some very special people. Read more to learn from her encounters!

This blog topic is amusing and a lot more specific and less serious than the last one I wrote. However, I feel that my experiences within this social element could be helpful for future international students, especially American students.  

The main purpose of this blog is to talk about dating, so let’s talk about it. 

In the beginning of my first semester here, I started dating a boy from England, who was attending the same university as me. We had a lot in common and knew each other well as we had kept in contact months before arriving in Dublin. One of the main challenges, but also one of the very fascinating parts about our relationship, was how different we approached the relationship all together. 

Looking back on it, since we are from different countries our approach to dating is very different, so I guess the element of confusion should have been a given. Dating in America is very formal as we tend to go ahead and ask each other out, as in the U.K. you hang out once alone and that is considered a first date. The first time we hung out alone we went on a run together. To me that was a normal thing, as I go for a run daily. For him that marked our first date. After hearing about my confusion about this ordeal, he asked me out on an actual date which I graciously agreed to.  

There are also some words and phrases between our two cultures that do not translate to the same thing. For instance, one time I told him that I liked him. Meaning that I liked spending time with him and liked being around him. I honestly didn’t think anything of it, and it was mainly meant to be a compliment. He, on the other hand, thought that I was in love with him until we were able to clear that up. So, if you did not already guess, that was a very interesting conversation. To explain further, in the states the term “I like you” does not have a lot of feelings behind it, opposed to how he described it to me, whereas in England it means the step right before “I love you”. 

Normal People by Sally Rooney (photo: sourced by Alyssa)

That relationship was short lived, but nevertheless a wonderful eye-opening experience. 

Months after that relationship ended, I met someone else that unexpectedly became one of my favourite parts of being here in Ireland. He is an American as well, and our first date was literally so perfect you could write a movie about it. We met for the first time in early November and finally were able to go out on a proper date in December. We both agreed that it was refreshing to hear an American accent, talk about things only Americans would understand and be able to connect with someone that understood what it’s like and how it feels to be an American in a foreign country.  

I found the end of the first semester to be very hard as I started to feel more and more homesick, so the fact that someone was able to make me feel at home from so far away was very special.  

To conclude, contrary to what you may think from reading this blog I do tend to be quite shy. However, I have found as an international student that it is easier to start conversations with people that do not know much about where you come from, because then they are more interested to learn more about you. Breaking the ice is easy, you just must be willing to put yourself out there. Dublin of all places is a great place to get started. 

Alyssa is studying International Business at UCD Smurfit School