ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Love Around the Globe

Spin the globe to find a different way to view romantic relationships.


Amore, grá, dragoste, amour, ibig, ást, szerelem, evîn, ljubezen—whatever language a nation uses to describe love, it has the same meaning all around: an intense feeling of deep affection. When focusing on romantic relationships love comes with different conditions depending on the geographical location. Not to say that unconditional love does not exist, but the norm for a relationship is different everywhere. There are things that are normal in the U.S. that would be seen as odd in other nations.

Europe Europeans tend to be open about public displays of affection. Kissing on the cheek is the most common greeting, even with first time encounters. In Europe, the representation of Western culture is that men and women are equal; however, traditional gender roles are still common in many parts. Women are expected to clean and cook, while men are expected to be the breadwinners.

Spain — Junior Ian Gugel got to spend a summer in Spain through a student exchange program, opening his eyes to another way of living.

“Based on what I saw when I was in Spain, gender roles are very similar to how they were in the mid to late 90s [in the U.S],” Gugel said.

Buddhist countries Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Muslim countries. Modesty is highly valued in these areas. Revealing clothing and public embraces can be looked down upon, especially around religious settings. PDA, such as holding hands in the streets, can also be seen as embarrassing. When visiting these countries, it is best to leave the crop tops and kisses in the hotel room. Like Buddhist countries, Muslim nations also tend to repel PDA. It is common to see heterosexual males holding hands or walking arm in arm, as an expression of friendship. This is commonly seen with women as well. However, romantic displays of affections should not be visible to the public eye.

Israel — Holding hands is a very common occurrence. Heterosexuals, homosexuals and even friends are seen doing this. Everyone holds hands in Israel!

Mexico, Argentina, Peru — PDA is found on every street. These three nations see the expression of passion as a normality.

South America — South America values traditional gender roles. Women are expected to do household duties, but are also expected to have a successful career, preferably under male leadership. Gender roles in this continent have developed in the past decade, but the strong focus on family still remains for both women and men. Along with this, women hold a status of being seen as beauty symbols, but are welcomed by men into almost all industries of work.

North America — North America has been in a rigorous fight in an attempt to redefine gender roles, with the U.S. being a top contributor. Femininity and masculinity are still defined very differently, and in some parts of North America, traditional gender roles still play a major part in home life.

Mexico — Spanish teacher Sheri Schmidt, lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for an entire year, giving her an opportunity to witness this for herself.

The roles between husband and wife were very delineated,” Schmidt said. “The women were in charge of taking care of the house and the children, doing laundry and cleaning the house. They also had to secure dinner and all the grocery shopping. The men did go outside the home to work and there was no discrepancy on who did what.”

Japan — Here, love is defined as carnal desire and romantic chemistry.

United States — The United States defines love as the act of liking something very much.

French — The French define love as a strong feeling of tenderness and affection between two people or towards a deity or an ideal.

Turkey — Turkey defines love as liking someone very much and having romantic or sexual feelings for them.