Since we're looking this week at dating as an international student, it seemed a perfect time to share this correspondence I had with Jairo Castillo, who comes from Venezuela and studied in the U.S. during the 1980s.
Jairo sent me an email to tell me about his college years in Kansas and Oklahoma. He shared a number of difficult experiences, including the long hours he spent in the library studying for the TOEFL, and how he struggled academically after transferring from a community college to a 4-year school. But Jairo also wrote:
I was 20 and those were my golden years of life.- during that course of time i meet my girlfriend Maria.- a native of Tyler, Minn.- she was studying phisical therapy and I was a soccer player who came down to the hospital due to a leg injury during a scrimage at intramurals. Maria and I dated and lasted for 3 years until she graduated and moved to Denver, Co.
I asked Jairo if he'd be willing to talk more about his dating experiences...and he wasn't shy at all in sending me this follow-up email about his successes, failures and challenges dating American women during his time in the U.S.
The first time that I went to a "formal blind date" was for Valentine´s in 1982 at WSU. I lived at the dormitory that consisted of four floor were distributed 2 for men and 2 for women I was in the first floor. I saw the adds and all of cards, ballons, and gifts, but no one to share and to give, because my language barriers and just i was learning basics staffs. The resident hall´s assistance decided to make that Valentine as a formal, and put a draft to all by room numbers.- so mine was 108 so i entered like the others so bid my roommate from Michigan told me to do so.- final day I went to the ball room and the table 10 was sorted to my room and I meet Tina.
Tina wasn´t found of foreigners either specially latinos because of the so called "macho" staff.- We talked a little bit and dance american music, i wasn´t much of a dancer myself but the music was played also with salsa so we also danced and she did really good. We had dinner like all the rest of 450 people, talk and decided to continue seeing each other for dinner, lunch, movies, shopping, etc. I meet Tina´s family entirely.- even grandma loves me so much... fears for foreigners were gone.
So things got different once i moved into another place more smaller and I didn´t meet anyone special to called a date as you asked. Only in my Jr. year i meet a girl in my night courses and we dated for a couple of years, relationship was nice, we spent weekends together and vacations and so on.- if you asked me about sexual relations.- yes! normal situations between women and myself.- sometimes I did the first advance after a couple of dating some others they "did" so I accepted them as equal.- I fell in love with Maria for last long even I meet her nice family, we were about to get married, I finished school and decisions to make . Finally she told me no. she couldn´t marry me for different reasons, one was the religion one, other was that i was pursuing my green card only thru her, and finally she decided to date phill. a guy she meet at church.
I have some dissapointments, yes. some people told me that there was nothing in common once i meet her and since i was a foreigner with no car, no money accounts, they make believed i was looking for something else different.
Dating between a US and a foreigner student should it take it normal, just like among you, only i believe that pressure to get the "move" first is the question. We are more romantic one´s and our women are more likely to be less depending on $ and executive rather than friendship and understanding. the key ingredient here is to listen and comprehend the people rather that criticize and procrastinate a culture, color, race, or accent on your language.
We all said at the end.- love is the key ingredient and America is the melting pot for all races and different customs.- for instance, I have a niece in Detroit that is married to a US citizen. she is a chemical engineer with a master in management. the family loves her deeply as how she treats them?
Jairo has been back in Venezuela since 1989, and he wrote that it's there that he finally met his wife, with whom he has two children. But his ties to his U.S. colleges remain. Jairo said his teenaged daughter may end up doing her college education in the U.S. as well - at Jairo's alma mater!
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