Valentine’s Day is almost knocking on the door and you can feel that love is in the air. If you are in Tartu and still searching for your dearest Valentine – don’t worry, this is definitely the place to find the one! Tartu love stories happen every semester. To support my claim – it also happened to me one year ago.
Iuliia (Ukraine) and Sean (USA)
I met Sean at Möku when the bar was still at Rüütli, our university had more than four faculties, and President Ilves was married to his second wife. As you can see, things have changed in Estonia since then. But my feelings remained the same. Maybe it’s me being extremely romantic or maybe it’s some special atmosphere in Tartu makes you believe that there is nothing impossible. Who knows, your destiny can walk down the same streets with you, attend the same classes, bars or social events. I don’t want to sound as a fatalist, but there is a possibility that if I hadn’t gone out that night I wouldn’t have met the guy with the cutest smile in the world. From my experience I can say that you should definitely meet new people, and multicultural environment in Tartu is the best place for it. Leaving your zone of comfort and discovering new culture can be challenging but it definitely worth it! During the past year I have learnt a lot about American culture, holidays and communication. From his side, Sean started to learn Ukrainian language and fell in love with my national cuisine (of course borshch was a turning point in our relationship? )
I have also asked other Tartu couples to share the benefits of being from different cultures and even continents, and here are their responses:
Karl (Estonia) and Risa (Japan)
‘Inadvertently there are some unique perks to being together with someone from another culture. Firstly there are obvious benefits such as being able to try home-made food from another culture (well, provided your significant other can cook) and always having an excuse to travel to visit their homeland. Having a foreign partner also makes learning their language much easier as you will always have someone to practice with! Having someone next to you from a different country will also allow you to often get a completely different take on various topics; often from points of view that you would otherwise not have considered yourself. There are of course also some challenges, you will probably have to endure a long-distance relationship at some point and cultural differences can lead to some disagreements. At the end of the day though, being in an international relationship is something you should not shy away from if given the chance. There will be some challenges for sure, but as is often said ‘love conquers all’.
Elizaveta (Russia) and Rafik (France)
‘Being an international couple help to enrich each other’s cultural traditions, cuisine, national peculiarities of mentality. This is, first, very interesting, secondly, the perception of life expands, pushing the limits in beliefs and worldview. Children in this couple will receive two mentalities that, again, will enrich them and it will make it possible for them to compare and choose the best of the best for the circumstances of their lives. Also, there is a pragmatic side of the question: it is possible to work in the country where the pension is higher, and afterwards to live where the cost of living is lower, to have access to what would not happen in a couple of the same nationality (the journeys inland, deep knowledge of the life, but not the banal set of tourist attractions in the crowd), and any other. To live with
a person of other nationality is the inevitable path to a revision of the history you studied in your own country, the propaganda that you were stuffed with in your country, the religion you are accustomed to. This is an opportunity to get out of the narrow confines of one-sidedness and to assess life events more objectively.’
Stephen (USA) and Maire (Estonia)
‘We wouldn’t say that there are a lot of specific benefits to be an international couple. We think it is more about who we are and how we connect rather than trying to find foreign partner. “Love can move mountains” But to think about it then there are few things that will come with being an international couple. We have reason to travel. We are constantly planning a trip to see each other and collecting money for the next trip. Our relationship is definitely stronger as it is based on a lot more than just sex. Having months away from each other gives us a chance to get to know each other thoroughly and to see how annoying we can be to each other on Skype. And as we get a chance to spend time together in then end we just enjoy every moment of it! We never know what future will bring, we just know that there and then is all that matters. We make every minute count. And as a little side perk we could say that we have an awesome story of how we met. Especially the part that how he ended up in little Estonia – in the middle of no-where and how we actually got to know each other. And it would always sound exotic to have a foreign partner.’