You may think this is a strange topic on the blog site of an English language school. What on earth has the University of Cape Town’s English Language Centre got to do with love and long distance relationships?
Well, the answer is simple. Students from all over the world come to our school with the intention of learning English, and exploring Cape Town. Most of our students achieve this. But some get the added bonus of falling in love.
Every single one of the relationships that have developed in our school have been between people from different nationalities, with different first languages.
What an amazing story to tell! The story about a boy from Turkey and a girl from Argentina, or a girl from China and a boy from Germany that found love in Cape Town! And, what a great way to continue learning English long after your English course in Cape Town has finished 😉
But, sadly, no one is here at the UCT English language Centre or in Cape Town, for that matter, indefinitely, and ultimately, all our students return home at some stage or another. Saying goodbye is always sad, but saying goodbye to your new love is even harder!
So, we decided to write this blog and post some tips in honour of all the love birds from ELC who are currently battling the challenges of a long distance relationship.
1. Communication is everything!
You guys won’t have the benefit of being able to see each other face-to-face and use body language to communicate a bad mood, feelings of sadness, or even feeling a bit ill. You will need to actually say this to one another in one form or another. Use every form of communication available to you to stay in touch. Luckily there are so many forms of communication available to us today! Like each other’s social media posts, comment on them, skype/facetime regularly, whatsapp each other, leave voice messages greeting each other and wishing each other a fantastic day.
Depending on your time zones, you may find yourselves in an even more challenging predicament of finding a good time to chat that works for you both. Plan ahead, set a time and don’t be late for that communication date!
Also, what better way to keep your English up than by having to communicate in it all the time! English all of a sudden becomes a beautiful vehicle, free of cultural or linguistic prejudices that you can use to express yourselves to one another.
2. Plan to see each other!
Plan a holiday together. This could be in one person’s country, a totally different country from both of yours, or even back to Cape Town where it all started! It’s important to plan this time together so that you have that time to look forward to and it can help you get through the days without each other a little easier.
And when you finally do get the chance to see each other, make memories! Take lots of photos, make tons of videos and spend the time catching up. After all, you will definitely have far more to catch up on than an average couple.
3. Celebrate your differences!
You will find that you probably have more differences than the average couple who share the same cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Don’t let this come between you. This is something to celebrate because you are both being given a beautiful opportunity to learn about another culture – and not just by being a tourist in that country, you guys have the chance to learn about another culture in ways not many people get. Learning about another culture forces you to view things in a different way, to think about things and challenge your own thoughts and thought processes. You will learn that there is more than one way to achieve something, as mundane as it may seem. You will also learn to become more tolerant, more respectful and more open which is going to give you a distinct advantage in an increasingly global world. Laugh about the differences when they seem silly to you, and talk about them whenever you see a cultural difference creeping in.
4. Trust Each Other!
This is going to be a difficult one for some. But, quite honestly, what is the alternative? If you are worried about the other person, tell them. Speak about it and try to understand why your partner is worried, and put their fears aside. If you are the worried one, tell your partner why you are concerned and what your concerns are. Nothing can put out a flame faster than jealousy raising its ugly head too often. A healthy dose of jealousy may be good as a reminder of what you have got, but be careful of this. Also, don’t go out of your way to make your partner jealous – this is unfair, unnecessary and will lead to unnecessary tension and heartache for the other person.
For more tips on how to survive a long distance relationship and turn it into something positive, you can read this great article on Life.com.
We wish you all the very best of luck in this challenging, yet very special and beautiful opportunity and we sincerely hope that you plan a trip to Cape Town to see each other again and that you come and visit us – where it all started, learning English in Cape Town!