Cross-cultural relationships: French girl meets Spanish boy

 - Cross-cultural relationships: French girl meets Spanish boy
Mixed couple: Pauline and Alberto
German and British, French and Moroccan… People find each other and stay together, in spite of, or maybe because, of their different cultural origins and religions. These couples often have exciting, exhilarating takes to tell. Love really does conquer all.

Pauline, 26, and Alberto, 29, got to know each other at university. The French girl was in the last year of her course, the Spanish boy had come to France for one year to learn French.

Since he was needed in the family business, Alberto went back to Spain and left Pauline behind to finish her studies on her own – a year of innumerable journeys back and forth between the two countries. And Pauline then did her obligatory work placement towards the end of her studies in Saragossa.

Now, she has been living there for four and a half years. This summer, the couple want to get married in France. 

It was love at second sight…
Although we were in the same class for the entire year, it wasn't love at first sight! I was already in a relationship back then, which then floundered in February. As early as March he started making advances towards me, and one thing led to another: from the swimming pool to the cinema, from enjoyable conversations to tender kisses ... This Spaniard enchanted me!

Is love different when you don't come from the same cultural background?

No, love is the same, I think. The way in which you express love is maybe a little different. It is a well-known fact that Spanish people are expressive and affectionate. They need a lot of physical contact, kisses and outward signs of affection ... more then French people I'm sure. At least that proved to be the case with us.

How do family and friends respond to an intercultural relationship?
Alberto is very self-assured, agreeable and interested in everything. He is well-liked wherever he goes and everybody tells me that we are made for each other!
How about raising children? According to which culture?
We shall raise them according to the country we shall live in; but the culture of the other parent will always be present, especially through the language.

What benefits does "bi-cultural" education offer?
Bilingualism and openness: from the time the children are small, they understand that we lead our lives here in one way, but that there are cousins and family members living elsewhere – and differently. That helps you become adaptable, wherever you go. A brilliant Spanish proverb says: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

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