When you leave your country to start a new life in a different one, the first thing you might realize is that what you believed was universal did not cross customs with you. Not so universal I guess. And then you realise that what makes two different countries is not just the food, the language, the landscapes or the political system. No, in reality the most striking thing when you live abroad, is that you have to face new social behaviours, which means a whole new system of images, symbols, and cultural representations that constructs those behaviours.
My name is Clémence, I’m French, and I am living in England this year as an Erasmus student at the University of Warwick. Not that big of a change, you would think, just two European countries. But now, let’s add the fact that I live with 7 other people from all around Europe, and go to a University that is known for welcoming students from all around the world. I think I don’t have ever been in such a multicultural environment before. And it suddenly feels like I don’t know how to socially interact with people anymore. If you are discovering a new country like I am, I would advice you to party, go to social events, not just because having fun is cool, but also because this is how I started to realise that some concepts or behaviours that I always thought were universal, or at least tended to be, were not in the reality.
What about love then ? The most universal feeling in the world, right ? Who do you love ? How do you love ? Why do you love? Why do you stop loving ? Do people from different country have the same answers to these questions ? It’s not just the words that are different from one language to another, or even the theoretical definitions that change, but it’s how people embody them in real life. And, the way people act depends on what they have been taught and influenced by books, movies, the arts, the media … everything that constitutes the representations people have on something.
What I want to explore in this podcast, is the multiplicity of the concept of love, the plurality of behaviours including sexual behaviours upon those subjects. To do so, you will listen to people from all around the world, so they can tell you their point of view, and also take a critical look at the vision their country gives- on these subjects. It absolutely doesn’t mean that one person embodies a whole country, but that she may have some refreshing perspectives to bring, or different knowledge to share. When you study geography at school, worldmaps always show your country at the center of them. Let’s step away for a moment from this self-centered attitude that, cousciously or not, we do have. I hope this podcast will help you open yourself to new ways of conceiving love, to question stereotypes we all have about love, and about people from different countries. I believe that it’s when people start trying to understand the impact their society has on their thoughts and actions that they stop condemning others for behaving differently.