Love Stories From Abroad

There’s nothing more romantic than falling-in-love in a foreign place.

In the movies, we see story after story of young travelers meeting their dream partner in an exotic and foreign land, spending several glorious months together and living happily ever after.

But do these things happen in real life?

The answer is YES!

We bet you never knew that USAC is also in the business of match-making! So, in light of Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up love stories from abroad.

All of these people met their partners during their study abroad with USAC. Talk about a life-changing experience!

Casey, Costa Rica, 2008

I went to Costa Rica to study abroad in fall of 2008. My host parents were busy that day so my host brother called his best friend for a ride to the airport. When they arrived my host brother waited in the car and sent his friend to the door with the sign that read my name. My host brother’s best friend was the first person I met after landing and he is now my husband. He is my favorite souvenir. 

Casey’s husband re-enacting the day they met at their wedding

Gino, Torino, Italy 2006

When attending the program in Turin, Italy during the 2006 Spring Semester, during which time Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics, I met the most beautiful woman.

Not only is she Italian, her family is from the same area of Italy as mine; thereby sharing the same dialect, food, and other cultural characteristics. While I was born and raised 3,000 miles away in Ohio, and she was born and raised in Turin, we both grew up in a Napolitano home.

Claudia was the lead tutor for USAC; tasked with scheduling and helping the language tutors. My “tutors” have been a part of our story ever since. Chiara and Lara are two of my best friends in the world! Those 5 months changed each of our lives forever.

Eleven years later, Claudia and I have since found a way to stay together with a long distance relationship (once not seeing each other for 8 months!), found a way to live together for two years in the States, and finally found a way to get married. Married once in April of 2011 here in the states (queue Green Card paperwork!), and a second time in Italy with all of our friends and family in September of 2012. I too say that Claudia was the best souvenir I could have ever acquired!

Gino Capuano
Gino and Claudia in Venice in 2006

Can’t get enough love? Check out more love stories below:

11 Love Stories from Abroad
Love Stories from Abroad Part 2
Falling in Love with Life Abroad

Heather, Lyon, France 2015

When a week off from my classes at Université Lumière Lyon 2 in the Fall of 2015 in was fast approaching, I was waiting for some opportunity or agenda to fall into my lap when it wasn’t. So I decided that I would create my own and take an ill-advised solo trip to a number of cities.

I started in Geneva, then to Dublin taking questionable flights and staying in questionable hostels. My third stop was in Amsterdam where I had several sights I wanted to visit, but I also thought there to be the most likely place for me to make some friends in my travels. The Flying Pig Downtown hostel where I was staying offered a free breakfast accommodation, and on my first full day, I decided to sit with another seemingly lonely traveler.

It turns out he was visiting from the UK and wasn’t so lonely at all traveling with two friends who soon joined us. They were very cordial and kind and also quite lost. We spent a majority of our remaining time there together with me as head navigator and we had quite the adventure.

Following our meeting, I stayed in touch with the boys through Facebook, and one in which told me he admired my thirst to travel and too wishes to see more of the world. I prompted him to do so and asked if he cared to start with the beautiful city of Lyon with me as his guide. He obliged and arranged to come for Lyon’s famous Fête des Lumières, which unfortunately ended up canceled in light of recent events at the time. Nevertheless, we spent a magical four days together romping around France at Christmas time introducing him to my beloved band of American USAC students.

We departed ways after this visit sad and confused on what role we will be capable of having in each other’s lives, but I was promised that I would be seeing him again. He came to visit me at my home university in Flagstaff, Arizona that February, and again in April, and again in my home state of New York in July, and our plan after that was for me to spend my month long winter break with him in Stoke-on-Trent, England which I did, but not without a surprise visit from him in October. We have been exclusively together for a year now and although our future is foggy, it is clear to us it will be together.

Love stories abroad - heather conners
Heather and her boyfriend in New York City

Doreen, Viterbo, Italy 2006

Kevin and I were engaged when we embarked on our study abroad together in the Spring Semester 2006. It was the year of the Winter Olympics in Torino, and the first year for USAC students in Viterbo.

Although we had a wedding planned for August, we teased our families saying we might elope while abroad. My mother joked back, saying we would only be forgiven for eloping if we had our wedding when they came to visit in late March.

Even though we were told that it would take six months, we decided to try to complete the paperwork to get a marriage license to be married in Viterbo. We had basically given up three weeks before my family was scheduled to fly in from the states since we only had half of the necessary documents.

In early March, went to a reception for the USAC and Erasmus students in our town. While there, we met the man in charge of PR for Mayor Gabianelli’s office. He was enthusiastic about our hopes to marry in Viterbo during my family’s upcoming visit, and he told us he would fast track our remaining paperwork.

True to his word, we traipsed around the public offices of Viterbo with Stefano Pizzetti and Francesca del Guidice, our program directors, meeting with the PR rep and completing the rest of our documentation.

A few short weeks later, we had been featured in the local papers, and we were standing in a fresco-walled room in the former-palace-turned public building. In front of the mayor and a camera crew from channel three, we made our vows in Italian and in English with our Italian Culture professor as our translator and our program directors as best man and maid of honor.

The mayor gave us an Italian flag and honorary Viterbese citizenship.

Photo credit: Stefano Pizzetti

Do you have a love story from abroad? Share it with us in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Love Stories From Abroad”

  1. Kari, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, 2007-2008

    I studied in Puntarenas for two semesters and met Leonardo at a meeting connecting Costa Rican students studying English with American students in our USAC program as conversation partners. It actually was not love at first sight, but we became friends. We started out studying, then eventually the English practice fell by the wayside and we just got together to hang out now and then. I think I learned more Spanish from him than he learned English from me.

    Eventually my time in Costa Rica came to an end and we said our goodbyes, promising to stay in touch. Five years passed with occasional emails and calls. I had fallen in love with Costa Rica and yearned to go back, but still thought of Leo as a friend.

    I got my chance in January 2013. Between jobs, I had airline miles to burn and decided on a somewhat impulsive 2 week visit to see old friends. Reuniting with Leo was when the spark ignited. We had both grown up and matured and our feelings for each other grew quickly. I spent the majority of my trip with him. Half-way into my visit, a different Costa Rican friend referred me to a private school that was in desperate need of a native English speaker and I was hired as a teacher on the spot.

    So two weeks turned into a year and Leo and I quickly became an item. Teaching turned out not to be my forte, but after that year I found work in tourism. We got engaged Christmas 2014 during a visit with my family in the United States, and were married in Costa Rica in July, 2015. We currently live in Costa Rica and I still work in tourism.

    I had hoped studying abroad would help my future career in the U.S., only to find it led to love and a wonderful life in Costa Rica.

  2. My dad made me promise to not fall for an Italian while abroad. He was worried I wouldn’t come back. I didn’t. I fell for an Ohioan.

    Danny and I met in the spring 2015 semester in Viterbo. He was my favorite travel companion and quickly became my favorite person. We tried to not become more than friends with May drawing closer and closer, but then he knocked on my door one night with a jar of pesto and an orange rose. He said he was worried to start dating since we were about to head back to opposite ends of the United States (me in Washington state), but he realized that he couldn’t lose me. We spent the rest of our time frolicking around Italy. How many girls can say that their second date was a day trip to Assisi? We are lampredotto, cheered on Roma and got off at spontaneous train destinations until we parted ways at Fiumicino. A bird pooped on his head, (so yeah, it was a pretty bad day), but the Italians say it’s a sign of good luck. It was.

    We managed long distance for a year until he moved to Washington after graduating from Miami of Ohio. We are long distance again because the Air Force called him away, but studying abroad made us adventurers, and this is just our latest of many.

    We’ve been together for two years now and celebrate every Valentine’s Day by making pasta (even if it’s via Skype). Because that’s what we made for our first Valentine’s Day in Viterbo.

  3. I just got back from Lyon in December. When I went to Lyon I never expected to find someone, as a matter of fact when people would joke with me about bringing back à French boyfriend, I’d laugh and assure them it wouldn’t happen!

    While in Lyon, I was having so much fun, meeting a bunch of new people. I decided to join tinder because, well, why not?! I had nothing to lose and I figured it would help me meet people and improve my French (which it actually did!)

    I went on a few dates, assuring the guys that I wasn’t looking for anything serious, and I went about my life abroad as usual. 300 (lol) matches later, I was beginning to get bored with tinder. I even considered deleting it because I felt like it was consuming too much of my time.

    There was this one guy being really nice to me, but I didn’t think much of it. We planned a date on a Wednesday (Wednesday November 16th to be exact) and we were just going to go to dinner or something. I found out that la Fete de Beaujolais was happening that night, so I figured that might be a little more fun. I suggested it, and he agreed that it was a good idea.

    I took the tram back to Villeurbanne and he was waiting in front of my host home. My first thought was “wow he’s tall!” And actually that’s one of the first things I said to him.

    We went and got dinner in Hôtel de Ville, and while at dinner I noticed that this guy had the sweetest smile, and I am a sucker for smiles. After dinner we went to try some wine. It was so loud, with music playing everywhere. We were just kind of wandering around with our little tickets, trying to have a conversation. I suggested we go dance out on la Place de Terraux, where there was a DJ and a dance floor. We went over and started dancing, and I just decided I wanted to kiss him, so I did. And, really, it was the stuff of magic.

    We saw each other again that Sunday, spending a lazy day at his house where I met his parents, who were so nice! I felt so comfortable there, which was weird because I have always been afraid to meet the parents of a boyfriend, but they were just really kind! I decided that day that he was more than just a date, and I started calling him my boyfriend, even though I knew that the relationship would likely end before I left.

    The time passed and I got to know my boy better. His name is Sébastien, by the way, I figured I should mention that at this point. There was a constant back-and-forth in my mind trying to decide if when and how we would break up. One night, I started sobbing in the kitchen of my host home, feeling upset that of all the places I could’ve found true love, I found it thousands of miles away from my home.

    A few weeks before I was supposed to leave, I had another sob session in the bathroom, and I decided to just talk to Seb about our future. He told me he wanted to visit me in the US, so it was settled: we were doing long distance.

    It was definitely a relief to know that we were on the same page. But still, that flight home was HARD. The instant I let go of him and went to the line for security, I had tears in my eyes. I went to the bathroom in the airport and cried for a bit, thinking that would be the end of it, but no. I cried the whole 10-hour second leg home. Oh those poor people sitting on either side of me!

    When I landed I was still sensitive but I was so happy to see my family. Seb and I send snaps to each other all the time, mostly when the other one is sleeping so we can wake up with each other, in a sense. I still miss him immensely, but soon we’ll both be done with school and we’ll be able to be together full-time. Oh, and I’m going back to Lyon for a couple weeks in June to see my boy and the city of my heart.

    We’re planning on moving to Montreal, Canada together, because it’s the perfect place for us franco/anglophones, and because my mom is a Canadian citizen thus so am I. We’re both working on the process right now, and though it’s difficult and time-consuming, it’s absolutely worth it. I mean, this boy is the love of my life, so a couple documents aren’t anything if it means I’ll get to be with him ❤

  4. Beautiful story Quinn! Thank you for sharing! We will hold onto it for our second round of Love Stories Abroad 🙂

  5. When I left to study abroad in Pau from January-July 2009, I had many people joke with me telling me not to go falling in love with a French man. Well, I didn’t, but I did fall in love with an English man.

    Luke and I were introduced the first week I arrived in Pau by my host mother, whom Luke was working for during his year abroad. She thought it would be a good idea to introduce us as he’d been in Pau for a couple months already and could give me some pointers. I thought it sounded a bit of a setup but agreed to go along with it because I wanted to meet new people and pointers are always helpful.

    We hit it off right away and started dating soon after, nothing too serious as we both thought at the end of July we’d go our separate ways, him back to England and me back to the US. I don’t think either of us expected to fall in love, but fall in love we did. We had a long-distance relationship for a year while we finished up our degrees and married in 2011. I’ve lived in England ever since.

    So while meeting Luke didn’t improve my French, it did improve my English.

  6. Kelsey! I just…I read you story and I had to share. I was abroad the fall of 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. One evening I went to an informal meeting of Spanish students and American students set up by our language teachers… on November 15th!! I met a sweet guy named Albert and we exchanged whatsapp numbers. I really wanted to improve my spanish, so we had lunch at the university that week. Lunches became romantic plaza dinners, walks to university became long strolls under the christmas lights of the gothic quarter, and I fell for him. I felt the same way! I never knew I could do a long distance relationship, but when it is meant to be, there is nothing you wouldn’t do for the other, even if it means living across the atlantic to finish your studies and waiting for each other. I visited this past Christmas and will be going back over Spring break. He will be meeting all of my family at my cousin’s wedding this summer and I couldn’t be more excited! Your story gave me hope. Studying abroad can change your life, even in ways you never could have imagined!

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