For most of us, when we think of the exchange student experience, we think of a student arriving in a different country, learning a little about the culture and primary language, and learning about beliefs and foods that are different from their home country.
Japanese exchange student, Yumeka Umemori, who has been chronicling her life as an exchange student in the U.S. on TikTok as @yumekaumemori, pointed out that dating is a very real concern for many exchange students, as well.
With over 107,000 followers, one of the 21-year-old's most popular videos included her revelations about how different dating in the U.S. was compared to Japan, which garnered more than 700,000 views.
You can watch the full video here:
Umemori reflected on the confusing time she had spent talking to a guy she had met on a dating app.
Despite both of them "looking for a relationship" in their dating profiles, that was hardly what happened, but the journey to that realization was puzzling for Umemori.
The 21-year-old reflected:
"Did you know we don’t really have a ‘talking stage’ in Japan? But we do in America, right? So I was kind of ready to experience some cultural differences in terms of dating."
"When I first started going out with this guy I met online, we hung out, like, five times, before I went to his house for the first time."
"Everything was fine, and you know, he was nice, and we were having fun, so I went there."
But there was a surprise waiting when she arrived at the house.
Unbeknownst to Umemori, her date's parents and grandmother were also present and ready to meet the girl he was seeing.
But meeting the parents so early in the dating relationship is not so common in European and Asian countries.
"I was freaking out because, in Japan, this doesn't happen that much. If you do this in Japan, it's like you're marrying that person, or you're in a real serious relationship with that person."
"I was like, 'Yumeka, you're fine. You're in America, so this is maybe not that big of a deal.'"
Upon meeting the family, Umemori was relieved to find that the guy's parents and grandma were nice, as well. His father even inquired to see if she would be coming back to the U.S. to spend more time with his son, which made her think that the relationship was really going somewhere.
But at the time, she wasn't sure how to answer that question and so changed the subject.
After the meet-n-greet, Umemori decided it was time to sort of DTR (Define the Relationship).
"I didn’t really ask him what we are or anything, but we were not in a relationship. I was pretty happy about it, until I found out that he just wanted to be ‘friends’ with me.”
“I was like, ‘Excuse me?’ Like I didn’t get mad or anything. I was just curious. Like what was he thinking about the whole time?”
"We were on the couch, and I was like, 'What's with you?'"
"And he was like, 'You know, I've been, like, focusing on myself.' He was like, 'I'm insecure about past relationships, so I don't want to have anything super serious.'"
"But this dating app we met on, it had settings that you can put whatever you're looking for, and we both put that we were looking for a relationship. That's how we met and how we matched."
Umemori was upset at this revelation.
"I felt so disrespected, and I got lied to, because he should have been more upfront. I don't know. It was such a waste of time for both of us."
"He should have been 'I don't know' or something, [not 'looking for a relationship']."
But she decided to make the most of it.
"So yeah, I blocked him, and I hated him, but like, I had this second thought."
"'Why don't I use him for a bit?'"
"So I decided to use him as a transportation system because he had a car. I’m not a b***h like this, but this time I was p**sed."
"I started texting him again. We hung out twice after that thing, and the last time before I was leaving, he was like, 'You know, we've been hanging out pretty long, and I was thinking of asking you if you wanna become my girlfriend or something.'"
"And I said, 'No'."
Some knew an uninterested guy when they saw one.
Others reassured Umemori that someone better would come along.
Some also enjoyed Umemori's spin on the situation.
At the end of Umemori's video, she explained what she intended to do in the future.
"I'm gonna become friends with guys first, and I'm gonna become more than friends after that."
Though we can still get our hopes up, this scenario typically leads to much less heartache, as we typically realize the other person isn't all that interested before we get our hopes too high.