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Why You Should Date A Girl Who Studied Abroad

Girl dancing in a field of flowers

Originally published on November, 20th, 2013.

After a year and a half of living in another country, plus those six months I spent studying abroad in Argentina during my more youthful days, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never want to date anyone who hasn’t spent some period of time living abroad -- and you shouldn't settle for any less, either!

Living and studying abroad challenges you, forces you to question your own values and those of your culture, shoves you in the middle of new, confusing situations and demands that you sink or swim. You wouldn’t really want to date anyone who can’t swim, would you? I didn’t think so -- for one thing, it would make beach vacations much more stressful. But I digress. And perhaps you still need some convincing.

I will never want to date anyone who hasn’t spent some period of time living abroad.

Whether she studied abroad in Paris or Peru, yo' girl is a go-getter. So you, reader, Person Who Dates Girls (or Would Like to Date Girls But Isn’t Quite There Yet), sit down next to me and let’s chat about why you should be pining over a girl with stamps in her passport.

1. She’s Got a Bigger Worldview

“See, there’s a difference between like and love, because I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.” “But I love my Skechers.” “That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.”

This may be the perfect excuse to quote one of my all-time favorite movies, but it’s also really relevant to this conversation. We look at everything in the context of our life experiences, so the broader our experience, the more perspective we have.

Studying abroad challenges you, forces you to question your own values and those of your culture, shoves you in the middle of new, confusing situations and demands that you sink or swim.

If you never know anything outside of your own culture, you will never have any reason to question whether you truly agree with parts of that culture. But a girl who’s studied abroad knows better than that. She knows that normal is all relative, that even though her home country has marked bus stops it doesn't mean that all countries do, and that eating dinner at 10 p.m. isn’t weird in a country where it’s, well, normal.

2. She's Understanding of Different Customs and Beliefs

Your girl who has studied abroad is more likely to be understanding about different customs, opinions and beliefs. Your girl who studied abroad is working on opening her mind, not closing it.

And this girl almost certainly knows that a good photo opportunity and a philosophical bilingual conversation are even more worthy of love than a Prada backpack and Skechers combined. And she's a badass female traveler. 'Nuff said.

3. She’s Got a Different Kind of "Smarts"

Date a girl who studied abroad

Sure, we all know some people whose possession of a real, valid college degree is a bit of a mystery, but studying abroad isn’t for the folks who snore through university.

Most foreign university systems are less organized, more hectic and less prone to babysitting than our home schools, and navigating them takes more than just luck and some good friends.

Not to mention, passing classes isn’t always a cakewalk. It’s hard enough to understand what in the world professors are talking about in our first language – a second language just makes it all the more complicated. While abroad, this girl was definitely not the one sleeping in the back of the class.

And psst, with her newly polished and shiny post study abroad resume, she's probably gonna land a pretty sweet job someday (or make a career out of it). This girl can work it!

4. She Can Seduce You in a Foreign Language

Or maybe just save your butts from getting on the wrong bus while traveling in Costa Rica, but point is -- a girl who has studied abroad is more likely to speak a foreign language. That's not just a useful life skill, but knowing a foreign language is pretty darn sexy too, n'est pas?

5. She's Self-Confident

Learning a new language and adapting to a new culture is not for the easily embarrassed. Assimilation is a slow, complicated process, and it involves a lot of mistakes. But it also (eventually) makes people much more self-confident.

She can take care of herself, and, if you’re the type who gets easily lost, she can probably even take care of you, too.

The first time you buy medicine abroad, successfully deal with customer service in a second language or translate a whole conversation for a visiting relative, you realize: I can do this. It seems like a small thing, but that little realization can change everything – suddenly you have the confidence to approach everything in life with the confident belief that you can do it.

Living abroad has made her more confident in who she is and what she believes, and as we all know from both men’s and women’s magazines, confidence is the sexiest quality any person can have. Girls who study abroad come back with so much confidence, they’re practically irresistible.

6. She's Independent

Date a girl who studied abroad

I’m not recommending a Kelly Clarkson singalong, but it also wouldn’t be completely out of place.

Studying abroad forces you out of your comfort zone, makes you adjust to reading oddly organized maps and has you trying to find mysterious, potentially nonexistent classes in labyrinthine university buildings

Study abroad is not for the people who require extensive hand-holding.

She can take care of herself, and, if you’re the type who gets easily lost, she can probably even take care of you, too.

7. She's Travel Savvy

The girl who studied abroad knows how to find her way across a new city, how to find the cheapest room at a hostel and how to make friends in more than one language. She doesn’t need help reading a subway map or fear unknown ingredients on a menu. The girl who studied abroad knows "what's up" when it comes to travel -- the perfect companion to see the world with!

8. She’s Adventurous

Watching skydiving on TV is all the adventure some people can handle. Your study abroad girl is not one of those people. She has guts: the kind that inspires you to leave your friends, family and homeland for a new experience in a new place, and it’s not for the timid or easily homesick.

Compromising pizza toppings is nothing compared to deciding on which famous Italian city you and your bestie want to spend a weekend exploring.

This girl likes trying new things, exploring new places and meeting new people. She’s the one dragging other people out of the corner at parties and ordering the spiciest appetizer at a restaurant. Maybe she’ll even take you skydiving with her next time.

9. She's Got Friends All Over the World

Study abroad means that you're not just making friends in your host country, but also other study abroaders. Chances are, the girl who has studied abroad has friends everywhere from Berlin to Buenos Aires. Talk about a diverse network of friends!

10. She's a Resourceful Problem Solver

A girl who has studied abroad has had to get creative figuring out a whole gambit of problems. From deciding where to stay on weekend trips with study abroad friends, to re-creating her favorite American dish without the most important ingredients, she's pretty creative when it comes to problem solving.

So when it comes to relationship quarrels, she's no stranger to mediation. Compromising on pizza toppings is nothing compared to deciding on which famous Italian city you and your bestie want to spend a weekend exploring.

Got That?

Et voila! Why you should date a girl who has studied abroad. If all of these stellar reasons still aren’t enough, remember that this lady’s got skills. For one thing, she can probably speak a foreign language, and she's certainly got some great stories to tell. So get out there and start looking for your perfect match!

Photo Credits: Ellie Taylor and API Study Abroad.
Photo of Natalie Southwick

Natalie has made appearances in 16 different countries to date. Her favorite is definitely Colombia, where she spent 3.5 years ogling mountains on a daily basis, eating an overwhelming amount of arepas and working with human rights organizations. She's currently finishing up a master's degree in Denver, where her main activities are trying not to get in fights about Boston sports teams and attempting to convince herself that the Rocky Mountains are just as good as the Andes, even though we all know that's not true.