Filling the Void
Establishing and maintaining intimate relationships is universally important to people across all cultures. Despite this fact, it’s quite interesting that there aren’t very many platforms with information aimed specifically at exploring the dating norms of various countries. Fortunately, someone decided to address this issue with several doses of enthusiasm and creativity.
Prompted by her own dating experiences, extensive travel, and a profound interest in different cultures, Marina Iakovleva was eager to tackle the intricacies of cultural influences on romance around the world. The product of her dedication is Dating Beyond Borders, and through its YouTube channel and website, Marina delivers entertaining videos and information to help inform anyone who might be curious about the international dating experience from both the male and female perspectives.
I, for one, have lost track of how many videos I've watched on this YouTube channel. On numerous levels, I consider it time well spent, and I hope others will come to appreciate this content as well.
Something for Everyone
Recently, Dating Beyond Borders has been focusing on light-hearted skits to explore international dating scenarios and practices. Most storylines follow the efforts of a foreigner who is new to the rules of dating in the chosen country. By examining the dater’s assumptions and missteps, the video sheds light on ideas and behaviors that may surprise the uninitiated.
In addition to the skits, there are also videos featuring street-level interviews and sit-down Q&As with people from around the world. These videos appear more prominently in the earlier years of the channel’s archives and demonstrate the evolution of production methods from a moving documentary style to a primarily script-based or studio approach. I find the in-country videos to be some of the more enjoyable ones, as they tend to appear especially open and honest, due in large part to the presence of local atmosphere and scenery from Marina’s actual visits to various countries.
I also appreciate the videos in which participants play games that test their cultural knowledge. These range from topics like beauty standards to language recognition. Many of the challenges can be fun to answer on your own, but hearing the responses and watching the interactions between the guests is endearing on another level. Most of the people are extremely likable, and you can tell they had a good time making the videos.
There are a lot of potential hazards when it comes to talking about cross-cultural relationships and issues. For this reason, it doesn’t really surprise me that so few outlets are willing to approach the conversation. Sensitivities and prejudices abound, especially on the internet, and the challenge of presenting authentic representations of people and customs, absent stereotypes and narrow-minded generalizations, can be a make-or-break point of concern for anyone. I think Dating Beyond Borders handles the prospect of controversy prudently by presenting topics through humor and informed research. It also helps that the participants in front of the camera are usually from the places they represent.
While even truly dedicated effort is often not enough to avoid those who simply want to play the troll, the majority of viewers seem to respond well to Marina’s work and are eager to contribute respectfully with their own experiences and ideas to round out the value of the content. In fact, the Dating Beyond Borders comments section, despite YouTube’s unfortunate track record, regularly adds many worthwhile points of discussion. I feel this is vital to the channel’s appeal and effectiveness, as it allows for greater diversity of opinion and social confirmation, both of which are aspects that might otherwise be challenged excessively due to the inevitable constraints of time, budget, and the improbability of truly comprehensive detail.
Overall, I think Dating Beyond Borders is a channel people will enjoy. Within its niche, it provides thoughtful content that is both entertaining and informative. With time, I can see it growing in influence and becoming a go-to resource with more evolved and in-depth topics. If the channel’s goal to “keep breaking down barriers” holds true, we can definitely look forward to even greater things in the future.
Mara on November 10, 2017:
This channel is certainly just entertainment. The videos are based on sterotypes and subjective experiences and points of view. They don't use the scientific method to create the content :). That's why is not a scientific and real reflection of the societies and shouldn't be taken seriously or even more or less seriously. I found a lot of inaccurate things in videos about my country and the country I currently live in. Dating Beyond Borders is nice entertainment, but not more than that.