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