Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Intl Glamazon, a sister of Nigerian origin who told me of her adventures through Europe. Check her out at
1) What part of the world are you from and what is the "swirling" scene like in your region?
I go to school in Central Illinois, reside in Dallas, Texas, and I represent Nigeria! Well, considering that I'm at school that has less than 3,000 students, the "swirl" scene is pretty skewed. If there are any swirl relationships at my school, they don't usually include the black women at my school; most are in relationships away from school. In our college town, it's mostly black men/white women and other combinations of swirl. In Dallas? Well, I'm never home enough to get a solid look!=oP I'll get back to you on this!
2) Why did you choose to go abroad?
I went abroad because I consider myself a citizen of the world! I have a huge curiosity about the world that can't be satisfied by just reading about it=o) Also, I knew it would be an amazing opportunity for growth in my life, which it most definitely was! I studied abroad in Perugia, Italy, and traveled to a lot of small Italian towns, London, and Madrid.
3) In terms of interracial dating, which country do you think is the friendliest towards it, and why?
Within the realm of my experience, I'd have to say that England (London in particular) was the place that seemed most friendly towards the swirl. An apt description of London is its like someone grabbed people from all over the world and placed them into one city. With so many different cultural influences, people, and lifestyles, one can see how interracial dating isn't a big issue there.
4) What have your general experiences with swirling abroad been like? Did anything surprise you?
You know, when you tell folks that you're going to Italy, they'll talk about how Italian men love black women, blah blah blah. It's not quite true - Italian men love WOMEN, lol=o) When I was in Perugia, I either received an outward hostility, overt sexuality (from certain men), or just plain curiosity. Italy has a serious xenophobia problem right now, so many people thought I was an African immigrant, and treated me accordingly.It was hard for me because I am African! But when I spoke Italian most people would completely change their treatment towards me. I was not feeling that.
In regards to swirling, I didn't really get down with it, because I was in a program full of Americans, and Italian men sincerely believe that American women just want to have "fun" (i.e., American women are sluts). There were a few exceptions, but it wasn't too common since I was in a college town. Men from abroad are far more forward than their American counterparts! So when dudes approached me in that manner, I kind of shut it down to the "hey friend!" level, because I don't do "casual" relationships well, at all. I was treated really well in England, and in Madrid I just got curious looks, which is 100% fine. I rocked a full-on afro while abroad! Never be afraid to be yourself when you travel=o) Also, be aware that feminism hasn't quite made it to Italy yet. Men will pay for your drinks! And of course, this comes with its consequences, lol.
5) What are some particularly memorable experiences with swirling abroad that you have had?
I struck up some good friendships with a few Italian guys, they're so charming! We had a great time sharing languages and each others company=o) I do have some wild stories though! The two that I will NEVER forget:
1). Me and two buddies went to Florence for the day, and when we left the train station, an Italian man started yelling "i tuoi cappelli, è bellissimi!" (your hair, it's beautiful!). So me, being the friendly person that I am, turned to him and thanked him. Before I could even finish, the man (he was an older guy, lol) grabbed my arm, tucked it under his and basically dragged me away in another direction. OMG! I said "No thank you!" in Italian and ran away from him...my friends STILL can't get over it!
2). We get back to the train station in Perugia and have to hang around for awhile because there was a strike (as usual), and as we're waiting outside, what happens? Some disgusting man comes up to me and says..."Ciao coco." WTF. He continues to do this while trying to touch me; my friends and I had to go across the street to try to avoid this dude. It was pretty scary, and while I'd been inappropriately propositioned before this incident, this was certainly the worst. But it didn't happen often. The key to being abroad is to protect yourself, first and foremost. It has to be your number one priority.
6) If money was no object, where would you make your home in the world and why?
I'd definitely have to say that London would be my home! I could travel to other places around the world with ease; I'd be close to family; and most importantly, I'd feel the most comfortable in London. I felt safer there than I do in some major U.S. cities. And I didn't really frequent tourist areas, so I know a solid amount about London and its dangers.
Special note from Intl Glamazon
Please, don't let my cautionary tales discourage anyone from traveling abroad! I mentioned them because I don't want anyone going into a whole new world without realizing that it's just like U.S. or worse when it comes to how people will treat you. Just be confident, safe, and strong! Men will flock to you as long as you have these qualities, trust!