So you’ve just walked off the plane, grabbed your bags, and exited the airport, and then something strange starts happening: a greater number of people than usual start checking you out…

Indeed, it comes as a shock the first time it happens, and even after many years and stamps in your passport, it still doesn’t get old. What I’m talking about here is that strange phenomenon of relative beauty. Or in simple terms: why is it that we’re considered more attractive in certain countries, whilst as just average or even ugly in others?

Grappling with this question, over 100 people – both men and woman – got together on popular online forum Quora to discuss the phenomenon of being held to a higher regard whilst away from home. And some of their experiences and insights just may surprise you.

For example, did you know that Russians are the epitome of beauty in China? Quora user, Katherine Mesh, tells of her experiences living in China were she was considered beautiful and exotic, despite being “average” in her native Siberia, Russia. “Living in China makes you more relaxed and indeed helps you feel better about yourself every day,” she writes.

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Pictured: Quora user, Katherine Mesh.

Of course, there are reasons why white people are considered beautiful in non-white parts of the world. For instance, a white skin tone has been historically associated with a higher social class, and in a society such as China’s, with a significant working class, a white skin still carries this historical sentiment.

But a white skin tone isn’t necessarily the epitome of beauty everywhere around the world. Take Quora user, Marie Horace, who revealed how she was told she was beautiful dozens of times whilst travelling through Scandinavia. Marie comes from a Latin Afro Caribbean descent, and apparently she was most enthusiastically appreciated in Sweden of all places, a country with its own stock of beautiful women.

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Pictured: Quora user, Marie Horace.

Another user, LLolyta, a 20-year-old Indonesian woman and an avid traveller, tells of similar experiences over in Europe, where her tan skin tone got her much more attention from the local boys than she did back at home.

Of course, we know it goes the other way too, with white men – in all shapes and sizes – being perceived as Brad Pitts and David Beckham’s in Asia – despite how far they’ve fallen from the ugly tree!

True, in certain developing countries, the white man is attractive for much more than his perceived looks; but even in countries like Japan and Korea, with relative high standards of living, the white face is still considered hot.

So is it just the fact that you’re different that attracts attention? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Or what do you think?

Have you ever been told you were more beautiful or attractive overseas? Let us know in the comments below.