Bethel's dating culture reaches internationally

February 14, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Students begin dating after meeting abroad on the Europe communications trip

Culture | JennaRae Schulte for The Clarion

Bethel's dating culture reaches internationally

Snyder and Rice met while studying abroad. | Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Katie Rice

When students talk about the benefits of studying abroad, they usually mention the off-campus experiences, the growth that comes with stepping outside of their comfort zones and the magnificent sights they see. Not many would describe romance as a benefit of their trip.

Seniors Ben Snyder and Katie Rice are exceptions — their story actually started on their study abroad trip.

Snyder and Rice are both studying communications at Bethel and chose to go on the Europe Trip for communications students in the fall of 2011. On this trip, students travel across Europe, staying in hostels in various countries such as Switzerland and Austria.

Snyder described the first time he was interested in Rice: “We were at the Montarina, the first hostel we stayed at in Lugano, Switzerland. She accidentally backed her chair up right in front of me. She tried to apologize and tell me how she was supposedly ‘known for being a klutz.’”

Both Rice and Snyder agreed that starting a relationship on a study abroad trip can be a blessing and a curse.

“It can be easy to romanticize the experience and even another person when you are hanging out in front of the Roman Colosseum or the Mediterranean Sea,” Snyder said.

From Rice's perspective, “Experiencing so many new things is pretty conducive to developing strong feelings for someone.”
One could call this “Bachelor Syndrome” — an experience similar to the popular dating show where relationships are romanticized via helicopter dates, private beaches and world tours that are not a part of everyday life. Countless relationships start on this show only to end as soon as reality hits.

On the other hand, the experiences can be once-in-a-lifetime, and what better way to enjoy the world than with that special someone? Paris can become even more romantic, and the Swiss Alps can become even more captivating.

“We were in Florence and a small group decided to go out for gelato. We ended up finishing our gelato on one of the bridges and it was one of the most fun parts of our trip,” described Snyder and Rice.

Bethel graduates Michael and Kirstyn Ouverson went on a Bethel trip as an engaged couple, and both attest to the fact that the experiences of the trip were made much better because they were together.

Luckily for Snyder and Rice, their relationship survived “Bachelor Syndrome,” and they are enjoying their last semester of college together. Both look back on their experience of studying abroad as one of the best experiences of their lives.

While an international romance is not for everyone, for these two lovebirds, it gave memories that will last a lifetime.

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