There are many challenges living abroad but the one common thing that most people are scared about is being by themselves. To leave your hometown, your comfort zone and your already established network of friends and family is not an easy thing to do. It can be frightening, and nerve-wrecking and takes courage and motivation.
Every time I move to a new city each year, I’m constantly having to start from ground zero. I need to make new friends, adapt to new environments, and be exposed to both culture and language shock. When you are not fluent in the local language, it becomes even more difficult to make a connection and to be included in their circle of friends.
So here are a few strategies I have used to meet new people and friends abroad.
Social Events & Groups
Whether I am at home in Toronto, or abroad, I always look up for Meet Up groups to find new friends with similar interests. There are so many groups available all over the world. Their group can vary – it can be for people who love to do adventures outdoor, practice languages together or playing a specific sport!
I’m a nerd for learning and free things! One great resource I have used to find events or seminars is Eventbrite. Some of them requires a payment but some of them don’t so filter out what you want or need! By going out and meeting poeple, you are not only expanding your network but you are also spending your time wisely while doing something you love!
No matter where you are, remember that you always have something you can offer to others. I like to turn to my favourite website – Conversation Exchange. The one thing we all have in common is that we have a language that we speak fluently and so, you can offer your services to teach people your native language. While abroad, I always exchange English for a language I want to learn. Remember, English is an important working communication language so if you are a native English speaker, this is a valuable asset! It is a really great way to meet people and fun also!
Tip: Try 20 minutes in one language and 20 minutes in another language – and then switch!
Besides meeting people from the Internet, you can always make friends by volunteering, taking on extra jobs and joining extracurricular activities you enjoy. The idea of being in the same place at the same time already shows that you have similar interests which create an instant bond. This is a great idea if you want to stay in the local scene! You can look for ideas from different posters and community bulletins in your neighbourhood such as the recreation center or the bus stops or just asking people in your network!
What are some of the ways you make friends in a new city?
I’d love to hear your ideas and how you do it as well!