Dating event breaks barriers

By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~

Students are able to spice up their dating lives by attending the Center of International Education’s (CIE) new Cross Cultural Dating event.

On Feb. 19, students have the chance to learn the ropes of dating someone with a different cultural background. This is the first year that CIE is holding the Cross-Cultural Dating event.

The event consists of two parts. The first part involves the Student Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG) sharing education on safe dating practices, sexual assault prevention and resources for victims of harassment or assault. Once SWAG completes its potion, Title IX Coordinator Kate Lawson will speak about the Title IX office, what resources are provided there and the consequences for those who commit sexual assault.

The second part of the event consists of an interactive panel of students who will discuss the dating culture and etiquette in them United States and the complexities of dating someone from a different culture.

The panel will discuss the common misunderstandings, especially those around language commonly used among interpersonal relationships in the United States.

CIE is holding this event to answer questions students have had about cultural differences and etiquette of dating a person with a different cultural background than their own. “We are holding this event because it grew out of a need.

Students ask these questions to us as they are not sure of the cultural etiquette or protocol,” Study Abroad Assistant Shannon O’Neill said. “Dating or managing any interpersonal relationship can be difficult on its own, but that difficulty multiplies when adding in the cross-cultural component. People can get hurt and we want to try to prevent that from happening by providing as much education as we can.”

Students are invited to learn about what they are bringing into relationships from their own cultural backgrounds.

“This event is not just for international students but for everyone. While there is going to be serious, potentially tough topics covered, there is also a fun and interactive side to it,” O’Neill said. “Everyone needs to work at understanding each other for relationships to work out.”

Students from SWAG and CIE have been invited to participate, are preparing their presentations and have tried to spread the message around campus to invite asmany students as possible to the event.

“By having students attend, we hope to increase the cultural competencies of students. We want students to walk away feeling more confident in pursing any type of cross-cultural interpersonal relationship,” O’Neill said. “We hope students gain the information they need to engage in healthy relationships.”

Along with its Cross Cultural Dating event, CIE is also hosting an “Unpacking your Study Aboard Experience” on March 10th to help students learn how to incorporate their study aboard experiences into their resumes or job/grad school applications. For other events, students can visit the CIE website.