dating advice
As an international student in the US, dating might look different from what you know back home. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is in the air — as well as plenty of dating advice for international students who’ve never dated in the US.

According to a study, 47% of Americans say dating in the US is much harder now than it was 10 years ago.

It’s likely harder still for someone who’s new to the language, culture and all the little details that bring people together. It’ll not be what it is back home.

Still, tough as it is, we’re all big advocates of international love as nothing’s greater than finding love. And greater still is love that crosses nationality, culture, and more.

Here are some tips to ensure you do not get your heart broken but put you on the path to meet your soulmate:

Dating advice for male international students studying in the US:

dating advice

Plan a date based on what the person you have asked out enjoys doing. Source: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Plan the date 

If you’re the one who asked someone out, it’s the norm for you to plan the date as well.

So if you have just asked a girl out, make sure you’re not winging it. Figure out what you both will be doing and how you will get there. 

Take into consideration what your date enjoys doing and try to plan something more up their alley to ensure that it runs smoothly and you score yourself a second date.

As someone who is new to the country, you may not know where to go, so try doing some research or asking around before you start planning.

Who pays for the meal?

Now this one’s a tricky subject. The question of whether the man should pay on the first date or you should split the bill has been an ongoing debate for many years.

However, in the US, typically, the male pays for the first meal. Traditionally, the one who asks for a date is the one to pay.

But as time progresses and you go on more dates, bills are usually split between the two. 

Don’t forget to tip

In the US, it is customary to tip your servers when you are done with the meal. So if you are paying for dinner, do not forget to add a few dollars to thank your waiter or waitress for their service. 

Not tipping would not only ruin your server’s night, but your date may get the wrong impression of you. So don’t forget to add a tip. 

For bonus points, be nice to waiters (and everyone working in the service industry) always. Nothing’s sexier than respect.

What to wear on your first date?

In the US, it is common to dress casually on your first date. However, you should try to dress nicer than what you wear daily. 

According to Men’s Health, it is best to wear something that fits your body well, like straight-cut jeans and a button-up shirt.

Though you don’t have to go over the top, you still want to look well-dressed on your first date. 

Different dating habits requires specialised dating advice 

Dating habits in the US may differ from what you are typically used to. Things like pulling out a chair or keeping your phone away on a date may not be considered a big no-no when dating in the US.

It is important to get to know these little differences before dating to avoid any misunderstandings. 

“The American dating culture is very fast. People break up and make up very quickly,” shares an NYU student from India.

“In India, my friends have dated for a couple of months/years, and it’s very hard for them to overcome a breakup.”

But what’s better is how open dating in the US is. “Indian couples refrain from openly sharing photos in public or telling the family that they’re dating,” says the NYU student.

“What’s most relieving about America is that relationships are casual and don’t look at the larger picture. Long-term commitment is not given much importance in America.”

best dating advice

The best dating advice for international students? Know what your date likes and dislikes. Take a fitness enthusiast to a run, not an eat-all-you-can buffet. Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images via AFP

Get to know their culture 

The best part about dating someone that is from a different country from you is getting to know their culture. 

Whether it’s their habits, ways of living, or family relationships — you will get a firsthand look at what their culture is like. Use this to get to know your partner better and learn about their country. 

New culture also means trying new foods. This is especially true if you spend time with their family over breaks. Take this as an opportunity to try all their favourite foods and snacks.

Talk about the future 

Unfortunately, one of the hardest parts about dating as an international student is having to say goodbye. If you have been seeing someone for a while, talking about the future is important.

Find a way to bring up the topic without putting too much pressure on the relationship. Talking about what happens after you have completed your studies will soften the heartbreak.