Photo by nattu

In my travels, I’ve often found the way to experience a culture most authentically is not by reading the best guide or seeing the major sites, but by finding yourself in the most gleeful place of all: in love.

Here are seven reasons to fall in love abroad in 2009.

1. You can serve as an ambassador for your country.

Making a good impression on people in foreign lands by using your romantic dexterity is the most positive grassroots PR effort there is. Just don’t cheat. Your country is depending on you.

2. Falling in love is the best way to learn a language.

Your desire to communicate in a foreign language will be heightened dramatically when the person staring at you alluringly across the table invites you to meet their family and friends. Or did they say farm and frogs?

Photo by Edwin Dalorzo

3. You can be a sort of cultural anthropologist.

When you date someone abroad, you get an inside look at gender relations and familial customs that the average tourist could never fathom. Dating is the ultimate cultural immersion. Bonus points for getting invited to family holidays.

4. If you end up getting married, you’ll have awesome passport privileges.

It will be much easier to find work abroad if you earn dual citizenship. If Europe is one of your favorite travel destinations, then a passport from an EU member country would be particularly advantageous.

No more visa issues, no more work permits. And, you don’t have to stand in the “foreign passport holder” line at customs! Score! More reasons to marry someone who lives abroad are as follows:

Photo by pedrosimoes7

1. If you end up moving back to your home country, then your in-laws are really far away.

2. Same goes for (sniffle) if you break up. Not a chance you’ll run into him at your local coffee shop or have to suffer through walking by “your restaurant” or “your park bench.” They’re literally out of sight, out of mind.

5. A foreign accent whispering seductively into your ear.

Need I say more?

6. You can develop a vague, Madonna-esque faux accent of your own.

When you spend a lot of time with someone who doesn’t share your native tongue, you’ll find yourself picking up the cute little mistakes they make, even though you’ve been speaking the language since birth.

Suddenly, instead of saying “people” you say “peoples,” and you’ve purloined their curse words. I’m known for still sneaking in a “joder” from time to time.

7. Finally, do you ever really need a reason to fall in love?

Awww.

Photo by *L*u*z*a*