How to find friends while living abroad?

Oct 26, 2018 | Expatriation

Loneliness kills, and life is way better with friends. But how do you find friends in a new city or even in a foreign country? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! Here are some advices which will help you finding contacts in a new environment.

Consequences to the Brexit for the EU and the Erasmus program

Colleagues

The first people you’ll get to know while doing your internship abroad, will be your coworkers. Try to be as communicative as possible. Don’t be shy! If you talk to them first, they’ll think of you more positive and open. Try to ask them for their plans and maybe they’ll invite you for a beer after work or a party at their house on the weekend.

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups with the name “Nationality in XXX”. If you are interested in meeting people from your home country, who have been through the same changes, feelings and troubles like you, this is a good way to get connected. Also, this groups are great if you need advice about how things work in the new country, where to find a flat or where you can eat your home countries food, if you miss it.  
If you went abroad to not meet your fellow country(wo)men, then there are International groups like “Expats in XXX” or “Erasmus in XXX”. Just be creative in your search and I’m sure you’ll find the right group. And if not, just open one yourself!

Language exchange

You just arrived in your new country and you’re not very fluent yet in the local language? Don’t worry! You can find new friends, while improving your language skills. There are probably hundreds of people in your new city who are willing to help you. The easiest way to find them is to offer that you teach them your own mother tongue. Because you’ll always find people, who are learning German, French, Italian etc. in other countries. What if you speak such an unknown language like Estonian or Welsh as your first language? Don’t worry, most people are also happy to improve their English skills by having conversations in this language.
To encounter this kind of people, the internet – again – is a good tool for that. Facebook events or groups like “language exchange in XXX” can help you. There are also some websites who dedicate themselves on bringing people together as “tandem partners”. Or just go to a local language school and ask there, if someone is interested to get some extra practice.

Clubs

A very good way to get to know new people is a membership in a club. It can be a sports club, a theater club, a choir or a reading circle. You won’t just get to know tons of new people, but also be able to pursue your hobby while living abroad. Just google your city and your hobby and I’m sure you’ll find the right club for you, where you get to know people with the same interests as you.

Volunteer

Commit yourself in local aid organizations. In every town you can find them and the people you’re going to meet there are the best kind of. If you are a religious person, you can reach out to the local community and ask where they need help. But also outside of church organizations there is plenty helping hands needed: You can ask in homes for asylum-seekers, animal shelters, orphanages, hospitals or elderly homes. It is probably the best way to get to know locals and help the community of your new home. A very big extra plus is that social commitment looks great in your CV and shows the recruiters you care about others.

Couchsurfing

Maybe you already heard of that website. For those of you who haven’t: the aim of couchsurfing is to connect travelers all over the globe. Whenever you are in a new city and try to find a place to sleep you can write locals, who offer their couch (or bed) for you to stay. What do they expect in return? Nothing but good vibes, nice conversations and maybe friendships all over the world.
The couchsurfers have a profile with pictures, descriptions about themselves etc. and there is also a reference-section, where other surfers or hosts left a comment about their experience with this specific person. So, it’s not as unsafe as one thinks at the beginning, cause you can read up the experiences from other people, also, most of the profiles are verified by a Facebook profile or payment.
But how does this website help you, as you are not in the need of a place to stay in your new city? Well, you can also use the platform to connect with the locals to meet for a beer or a coffee in town. There are groups where you can ask questions. And it offers the possibility to start local events. In many big cities there are regularly (weekly or monthly) Couchsurfer Meetings in local bars where you could join.

Just try it! You have literally nothing to lose by meeting new people!

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