There are many reasons to study abroad, the least important of which is academic learning. You don’t schlep yourself to Cape Town or Barcelona or Prague for the excellent university programs or the opportunity to face rigorous intellectual challenges (though if that’s your motivation, I salute you).
The truth is, studying abroad is about a different, equally valuable kind of learning: the self-growth kind. My sophomore spring, I chose to spend a semester in Paris to challenge myself academically and personally, as well as to eat exorbitant amounts of cheese, practice my language skills, and partake in strange foreign adventures. I succeeded on all counts. On the strange-foreign-adventure front, my most memorable escapades came in the form of my romantic liaisons. Whether you study abroad in Nice or New Zealand, you’re likely to have a fling with one (or more) of these six guys. You'll return to America a little smarter, maybe, but most importantly, you'll be armed with some ridiculous dating stories that will make all of your friends hate/envy you.
1. The American-o-phile
“You’re from New York? Oh my God. Is Friends loosely based off your life?!” The American-o-phile is thrilled to have the opportunity to romance a real-live American. You’re a celebrity to him, simply by virtue of being Americas, with extra points for being a New Yorker. You're pretty much on the same plane of coolness as Will Smith in Fresh Prince. You date him for a bit because it feels good to be treated like the famous person you know that you are, deep down.
(The American-o-phile is also acutely aware of your weakness, which is sexy foreign accents.)
2. The Language Exchanger
Maybe you find this dude through an exchange program affiliated with your university, or perhaps you troll Craigslist for a friend with whom you can practice your terrible Spanish. On your first meeting, you get together for a (tiny, European-style) cup of coffee or a glass of vino. Maybe he takes you around town on his vespa. He’s the soft-spoken, intellectual type. He probably wears scarves all year round. You’re into it…exchanging language...and some other things...
3. The Skeezeball
This loser preys on drunk American girls because, legend has it, they are all perpetually horny sluts. Maybe you meet him at the discothèque, or you find him drinking with buddies in a park, verbally abusing squirrels. Regardless, he really only has one thing on his mind, and that is getting it on. His intentions become super evident when you notice that the only English words he knows are “sexy,” “come home with me,” and "blow job."
4. The Older Man
In many places around the world, romance is significantly more fluid than in America. Unconventional relationships are far less stigmatized — it’s considered more normal in Florence, for example, than in Philadelphia to date a man who is 25 years older. You meet him at an art museum, admiring the same Botticelli. His English is passable, he likes your smile, and the next thing you know, you’re squeezing him from behind on his Vespa, traipsing through the Tuscan countryside. Things come to a swift halt when you meet his kids, who hate you.
5. The American
When you're studying in a foreign country, it’s tempting to cling to the few things that are familiar to you. You may find yourself secretly sneaking into a nearby McDonald’s most afternoons for your hamburger fix, or paying 10 euros for a weird Frappucino at the country's very first Starbucks. You also may find yourself dating some bro in your program, because talking English is so easy and good.
6. The Prince
OK, you might not actually end up dating a prince, but I guarantee you, some girl in your program will recount extensive, directionless stories about how she randomly met this prince, archduke, earl, or viscount at some party, and how he's been taking her on the most extravagant and romantic dates. BLEH.