Dating a local is undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn a language, but finding romance abroad, let alone another when the host country speaks a different language, can seem intimidating at first. With a vibrant dating scene of locals and expats, Colombia is a fantastic country to explore, get out of your comfort zone, and maybe even find romance along the way! Whether you are looking for something more serious, or simply looking to make friends and expand your social circle, read on!
Romance Abroad: Where Do I Meet People?
The beautiful thing about living in Colombia, especially in the larger cities like Bogota, Cali or Medellin, is that there are always opportunities for social activities. Language exchanges like Bogota’s famous Gringo Tuesdays is a fantastic meet-up that combines a language exchange with a splendid night out! In Medellin, Dance Free offers Salsa and Bachata classes for all levels, as well as a language exchange for those looking to improve their linguistic skills. If you are not looking for a night out, or maybe dancing isn’t for you, try joining a Meet Up and connect with people of similar interests. Joining a local hiking or fitness group or a local class is also a fantastic way to meet people!
Romance Abroad: Tinder Is Big in Colombia
Tinder, and other dating apps like Bumble or Colombian Cupid are common in Colombia. In fact, I have several friends who have met their significant other on dating apps. For those using dating apps, I recommend being cautious about giving away any personal information like addresses, until you have met your date in person and in a public place. There are horror stories in Colombia of men being taken advantage of by women, leaving them with a drained bank account and without documentation. But don’t let that turn you off. Having used dating apps myself, I have met wonderful men, some of whom I am still friends with today.
What if I Don’t Know Spanish?
Coming from personal experience, dating in a second language can intimidate at first. In fact, it took me about three years of living in Colombia before I felt comfortable dating in my second language. While I felt shy at first, I found that ultimately putting myself out of my comfort zone and dating, drastically improved my Spanish skills. So my answer to you is, if you don’t feel like your Spanish is “good enough” to date, you will never know unless you put yourself out there to find romance abroad.
When living in a different country, inevitably, there will be cultural differences and clashes in customs and beliefs. I discovered one of the biggest cultural differences was the notion of time. That’s true for the professional world, and even more so when looking for romance abroad. Colombians are notorious for running late and for arriving at places at least 10-15 minutes late. It is also normal for Colombians to live with their families until they are married or get together with a serious partner. So don’t be surprised if your date has a full house of roommates. Having an open mind is the best way to navigate these differences, seeing them as an opportunity to learn about a host-country culture and see life through the eyes of a native.
Whether you are looking for romance abroad or just trying to make friends, Colombia offers beautiful opportunities to connect with people from all over the world. Take a step out of your comfort zone and see what Colombia has to offer.
By Erin Colton-Enberg