Can An Intercultural Relationship Make You More Creative?


Shirley Rain

Have you ever felt like your world view has expanded after living abroad or in a new environment? Studying or living abroad exposes you to a new language, a new style of living, new ways of thinking. And new research shows that this also happens when you date someone from a different culture.

In fact, JG Lu’s research shows us that cross cultural relations result in increased creative thinking and innovation.

The study included three experiments that demonstrated how intercultural relationships enhances creative thinking. The first study is a longitudinal study that followed MBA students in a cross-cultural relationship for 10 months. Their creativity levels were measured through diverse perspectives and compared before and after the program. The results demonstrated “an increase in both divergent and convergent forms of creativity over time.” And there is growing  consensus in the academic circles that “the depth of multicultural experiences is the key predictor of creativity.”

But although there is evidence to support that intercultural relationships can make you more creative, don’t feel restricted or intentional in finding an intercultural partner. After all, how do we characterize foreign culture anyways? Every relationship could be viewed as intercultural in a sense that romantic partners often grew up in different backgrounds and had different life experiences.

Ultimately, the effort and investment we make during a relationship predicts how much we influence (hopefully in a positive way) each other and learn from each other. Trying to understand and adopt the positive life attitudes of a partner can often bring about better relationships, as well as positive self growth.

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