It's a modern love story: Boy meets girl. Boy's student visa expires. Boy and girl keep dating via Skype.
If you're at University then there's a chance you'll meet the love of your life. There's also a chance that they won't be from the same country as you, or even the same continent. This means if they don't manage to find a job after graduation, and you're in it for the long haul, then you're headed for a Long Distance Relationship: hours talking to each other online, some compromising Snapchats and a lot of hard work.
LDRs aren't exactly new. Long before the birth of the instant message, sweethearts were penning grandiose love letters to each other on parchment with quills (presumably). Even Napoleon wrote, 'Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you,' before quickly sketching a dick pic and handing it to the messenger to deliver to Josephine. But despite the romanticised image of the pining lover, a lengthy discussion about work permits can really kill the mood.
Somewhat naively, it wasn't until I witnessed the palaver that my flatmate and her American boyfriend had to endure before his reluctant return to the States that I was aware of how hard it can be for couples with international partners to live in the same country after graduation. As if relationships aren't already hard enough, throw in the caveat of a few thousand miles of land and water and you've got a real challenge on your hands.
In order to remain in the UK after graduation, an international student will have to have, among other things, a job offer from a company who is willing to pay to sponsor them and sufficient proof that no one else resident in the UK can do the same job. There's an annual cap of 20,700 immigrants who can enter the country under the category of 'skilled worker'. So if all the places are full, tough luck Jim, no matter how in love you are, you're going home. Regardless of how you feel about immigration, you can see how that might be hard on a long distance couple trying to make it work.
Who knows, you might be a romantic who believes that love knows no bounds, and that nothing could stop you from returning to your true love's arms whilst humming birds flutter around you and a squirrel bakes a pie with your initials on it. Equally though, you might not have considered the part where you're shouting in frustration at the tedium of the visa application process, or standing dejected in an airport as your partner flies away indefinitely.
So can LDRs ever work out? I'm with you, optimists. Just know that the course of true love never did run smooth. And that Snapchat now has a black and white filter which is much more flattering.