Sunday, June 28, 2009

Black Women Dating Men from Europe – Part 3

(C) Moving to Europe for School and/or Work
Moving to Europe is a wonderful opportunity for bw to explore another culture and hopefully meet Mr Right. Having said that, don’t look at the endeavor with rose-colored glasses. Evaluate the risks involved and do what you must to minimize them. Do lots of research first. For example, contact black women living in Europe to ask them questions. There’s actually a blog called “Black Women in Europe;” that should be a good resource. Also, contact the authors
of the various blogs I’ve referenced in this “Black Women Dating Men from Europe” series of posts. The author of the “American Black Chic in London” blog is in London for graduate school so I’m sure she would be of great help. When asking these ladies questions, it is best to ask via email instead of through the comments section of the blog since there’s a higher likelihood they will be more open in private communication.

(1) If you’re planning to move to Europe for school and/or work, my feeling is that the more black people that live in the country, the less racism you will face in the workplace or at school. The less racism you experience, the higher your probability of having a good educational experience/successful career. That’s why I think Britain is a good choice –as I wrote earlier, 12% of the British population is black (and that figure is almost the same as the percentage of black folks in America). In Britain, you’ll face less racism in your career/at school than other European countries and you’ll also have way more opportunities for interracial relationships that you do in America. If you live in London, you can include men in Britain, France and the Republic of Ireland in your dating pool. Paris is not too far from London--it’s a 3 hour trip by train, which is the fastest way to do it. Start learning French before you leave the U.S. so you can start fishing in the French pond too when you get to London.

Let me reemphasize: When I say Republic of Ireland, I am not talking about the Ireland that is part of Britain, as they have a history of instability and violence. Think Dublin, not Belfast. (FYI: My understanding is that it is only within the last 10 – 15 years that Britain has become open to having large numbers of minorities into the professional workforce. Britain does not have as long a history as the U.S. when it comes to black people in the professional workforce, but when you compare it to the other European countries, it would be a better environment for a bw’s career.)

(2) When selecting the country to move to, keep in mind the different economic conditions of each European country (even prior to the worldwide economic crisis). Here are a few examples: Germany is the economic engine of Western Europe. Italy is one of the least developed countries in Western Europe. London is considered the financial capital of Europe (i.e. it has the highest number of financial securities traded) and is actually the bond capital of the world. France has had huge, chronic unemployment problems for years. The last I heard, Norway has a higher per capita income than the U.S., though its GDP is lower.

(3) Looking for a husband shouldn’t be your only objective when moving to Europe. Do it also to experience another culture. That way, if you don’t find Mr. Right while you’re there, you won’t consider the whole experience a waste of time and label it your European misadventure. Obviously, your chances of meeting Mr Right in Europe increase if you actually live there instead of just visiting for a few weeks of vacation, so don’t brush off the idea of moving.

(4) Try your best to find a university or job that is in the commercial capital city of the European country (like what New York is to the U.S.) and not their version of, say, Birmingham, AL. You will find that people in the commercial capital (and its surrounding suburbs) will be more open-minded than others in the “boonies” or “quasi-boonies.” Even if you see a school or job in a metropolitan area, remember that it is not every metropolitan area that will be as open as the capital city. Remember: Birmingham, AL, is also a metropolitan area in the U.S. Does that mean every job in Britain that is not located in the city of London is off limits to you? No. You have to also include the SUBURBS of London in your search. Use the following link to help you decide how far a town is from the capital city:

(5) If you are an evangelical Christian, keep in mind that there are much fewer evangelical Christians in Europe than in America. It may surprise you to find that Europeans actually consider the U.S. to be a very religious society. For example, in Britain, evangelical Christians make up a mere 6% of the population, compared to 20% in America; Britain has even more of an evangelical presence than certain European countries like Ireland and Italy.

(6) Though we are going through a global economic crisis and this is obviously not the best time to be looking for a job overseas, you can start doing the prep work now. For example, you can do research, select a target country, learn the language of your target country, prepare for any admission exam you may need to take to apply to university in Europe, etc . While you bide you time, you can also look into meeting men from Europe in America and also enter an international long-distance relationship with a European guy.

(7) Don’t forget to research, research, research. Visit the European country you are targeting for at least a few weeks to taste and see for yourself before making a final decision to move there. Don’t do one of these fly-by vacation trips where you’re in 4 countries in 2 weeks.

(8) After you’ve found a good a husband, the two of you can move back to America. When you leave the European country, you’re “making room” for other AA women to come over there. What do I mean? If there are too many AA women moving to a European country at a given time, you know the natives will start getting irritated that foreigners are stealing their jobs. I know at first, there may just be a few AA women in the European country, but as time passes, it’s possible other AA women may catch on and start moving there en masse. If most AA women find a husband and bring him back home, then hopefully, we can reduce/avoid employment-related backlashes against AA women there.

(9) After you’ve done your research, don’t forget to share the information you find with other bw. For example, write some posts on the Black Women Who Date Interracially Yahoo Group—use key terms in the post that people may use to do a search on in the future. If you want, you can even have key terms at the bottom of your post like “moving to Europe” or “working in Europe” or “school in Europe” or “living in Europe.”

Read the next post in the series where I continue writing about Moving to Europe for School and/or Work: “Black Women Dating Men from Europe – Part 4.”

Please email this post to other black women by clicking on the envelope icon below.