Panel talks romance across cultures


The above panel discusses love and romantic relationships in both American and international cultures to encourage bonding. 

Brandi Doyal, Print News Editor

Tulane International Society has hosted the Language of Love panel as a part of the Newcomb College Institute long before Kayla Bruce, senior and president of TIS, came to Tulane, but its tradition has only continued to grow.

The panel, which took place Wednesday, was meant to bridge the gap between the international community and the rest of campus and raise awareness of international women’s issues by talking about differences in romantic relationships across the globe.

“This panel is a chance for international professors and students to share their perspectives on differences in relationships and romantic culture,” Bruce said. “How comparing this to their experience in the United States has either changed or reaffirmed what they are used to.”

This year’s event featured an all-student panel with students from China, Brazil, rural India, Korea and the United States. Bruce said TIS is composed roughly of half American and half International students.

“I think it is important to provide international students with a forum to speak about the vast cultural differences they experience in learning about and adjusting to American romantic culture, especially in the university setting,” Bruce said.

Bruce said she believes the panel encourages all students to be critical of power dynamics and gender roles in relationships. Students from abroad may face a culture adjustment when they come to America and see the different values.

Senior Nia Morgan said she attended the event because it was relevant to the student experience.

“I am an Asian Studies major and I’ve studied abroad a bunch of times,” Morgan said. “I just thought it would be interesting to hear what intercultural dating is like from others’ perspectives.”

Tulane currently does not have many programs to help students adjust not only academically, but also culturally. Bruce said this conversation allows people to see beyond what is expected of dating and romance in their culture and think more about why these cultural expectations exist.

“I also work for the Center for Global Education, and since my freshman year [I] have made a lot of effort to get more international students actively involved in our organization,” Bruce said.

TIS Co-President Thalia Skaleris said the organization’s main two goals are to increase interaction between the international community and the rest of campus and bring awareness about international issues to campus.

Skaleris said the conversation created at this panel was revealing.

“I don’t know if it will necessarily bring change, but cultures around the world have very different views about interpersonal relationships, and this is a great demonstration of that,” Skaleris said. “We’ve heard some really interesting views — stuff that wouldn’t even cross your average American’s mind.”

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