International students say dating scene at BYU differs from home

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    By BEVERLY BEAL

    Think of an average date at BYU. The guy calls a few days in advance, picks the girl up at seven, takes her to a nice restaurant, and maybe to a movie or to play a game of miniature golf.

    To average BYU students, this may seem normal and they would think nothing of it, but for BYU students that are from other countries, they receive a culture shock when they come to the United States, said Enoc Flores, Director of International Services at BYU.

    “Many years ago, when I came to BYU as an international student, it was difficult to adjust, there was just such a cultural difference,” said Vernon Heperi, director of Multicultural Services at BYU.

    Flores said that the dating techniques in America are different than from anywhere he has ever seen.

    “In Spain, guys do not pick up girls at their home for a date. They meet each other somewhere else like a dancing place or a cafeteria,” said Neives Knapp, a BYU professor in Spanish from Asturias, Spain.

    “In Brazil, people don’t call for a date, they just go in a big group,” said Renata De Rosis, 18, a freshman from San Palo, Brazil, who has an open major.

    De Rosis has been in the states for one year.

    The dating scene in America is formal compared to other countries. To go on a date, people dress up and go to a nice restaurant and a movie, said Jens Pawelke, 23, a freshman from Halderstadt, Germany, majoring in broadcast communications.

    Pawelke has been in the United States since Dec. 17, 1999.

    He said that in Germany people would only go to a movie or to a party.

    In many parts of the world, a girl asking out a guy is not heard of, Knapp said.

    “A girl would never call and ask out a guy in Spain,” she said.

    “Around here, some girls will ask a guy out if they want to go out with them,” said Steve Nelson, 21, a sophomore from Mesa Ariz., majoring in business management.

    Pawelke said that in Germany, it is common for girls to ask out guys. If she wants to ask you out, she will.

    Pickup lines seem to be more prevalent in America, especially at BYU, Nelson said.

    “Anyone you talk to has to admit to either using a pickup line or been hit on with one,” he said.

    “A guy asked me once if I had a testimony of Jesus Christ and when I said yes, he asked if he could hook up with me,” said Tara Whicker, 19, a sophomore from Woodbridge, Va.

    In other countries, pickup lines are not used as much as they are here, Pawleke said.

    “I usually don’t use any pick up lines. I like to get to know the girl before I ask her out. The only time I did hit on a girl was when I made a bet with a few friends. I went over to her, asked her out and she shut down,” he said.

    Other societies around the world are conservative, said Wasiq Laris, 23, a freshman from Bangladesh.

    Laris has been in America for one month.

    “Dating is not common in Bangladesh and a formal date is rarely seen unless they are involved with each other,” he said.

    Although BYU international students have a difficult time adjusting at first, there are many opportunities to meet people from outside of their home country, Heperi said.

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