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Students and bishop share advice on multicultural dating from love and acceptance to good communication and hard work

An illustration of a male and a female standing on a globe with hearts filled with flags of different nations.

Students filled the Hale 2 lounge on Feb. 25 to hear advice about multicultural dating that included having open communication, acceptance, hard work, selflessness and faith. The event was hosted by Residential Life and Title IX. There were students and bishops from Tonga, Samoa, Japan, Philippines, and New Zealand who addressed students’ concerns on what makes a multicultural relationship work, and whether it’s worth getting into a multicultural relationship.

Jannah Fogavai, a junior from Samoa majoring in accounting, said there are three things to make a relationship work: “Communication, effort and working together … and if that’s not working, there is no chemistry. Then it’s not going to work. I’m sorry. Move on.”

Hale 3 mom, Sister Maunga Falevai, shared her experience of advising her children to marry within their Tongan culture, saying, “I was scared that the marriage wouldn’t work, but some of my children chose to marry another culture. I have learned, marrying another culture is not a big deal. It is love, acceptance, and prayer.”

Falevai shared you need preparation and maturity to accept the differences. “You need to compromise, and both accept one another’s culture. I think learning about one another’s culture is a great thing. It matters to accept who he or she is.”

Brec Jorgensen, a sophomore from Utah majoring in music and exercise and sports science, shared, “Dating principles can exist in any culture, like respect, communication, being open and on the same page.

“The difficulty is traditions that differ from each other, learning about them is more things to add and adapt to in the relationship. If you are able to come from different backgrounds, it [could] make you even stronger.”

Falevai continued asking questions like, “Will you accept the differences? Will you let your wife be free to do what she wants or what your husband wants? If you are able to accept one another, then it will be fine.”

When asked if multicultural marriages are “worth it,” Bishop Dennis Mataia shared, “It depends, if you only want to eat cereal for breakfast, no. If you are open-minded, then yes.”

Jenna Armstrong, a sophomore from California majoring in TESOL, shared, “I learned that there are many different perceptions of dating. Something totally normal in one culture might be weird or inappropriate in another culture.

“I also think that it was valuable to hear about respecting everybody’s culture and the importance of it.”