One of the biggest challenges that many expats face when moving abroad, is making new friends. It can be hard to leave behind your social support and isolation can lead to severe homesickness.
Thankfully, while it can be difficult at first, there are ways to form positive relationships. Once you establish a new network, you’ll be able to settle in and truly feel at home.
Interested in learning more? Below we are going to talk about eight tips for socializing abroad so that you can make great friends as soon as possible.
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Plan your trip in advance.
You’re not going to feel comfortable making friends if you still haven’t organized the ins and outs of your move abroad. Ensure that you have everything in order, from your annual travel insurance to your accommodation, finances, and transport.
Not only will this ensure that the process goes much more smoothly, but you can spend time exploring your new home soon after your arrival. It’s always better to be one step ahead.
Join local clubs and groups.
If you have interests or hobbies be sure to look for local clubs and groups that can help you connect with other like-minded individuals. Alongside being able to meet people who share your passions, it adds a sense of structure and familiarity to your routine.
If you can’t find a club, you might have a go at creating one yourself. Chances are there are other expats and locals in your neighborhood that would be keen to start something up.
Classes are another excellent idea. From yoga and craft to cooking and baking – there are plenty of options out there to choose from.
Attend local events.
While attending local events can be a bit of a culture shock at first, it really is a great way to explore your new country and meet people. Check out festivals and concerts and make time to celebrate holidays.
You can find most events in newspapers and posters in public areas. Just be sure that you are aware of any rules before attending.
Use social media.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are all valuable tools for making friends. You can join groups and communities and can interact with new members.
It is, however, extremely important that you are careful when meeting up with strangers. Always gather in a public space and never share your private information online. While you can meet some interesting people, there are others out there that may try and take advantage of you.
You can find some tips on how to protect yourself online here.
Attend language classes.
One of the most difficult parts of being an expat is the communication barrier. If you don’t speak the language, it’s a good idea to take a class. It’s a fun and interactive way to learn and there is a high chance you’ll make some friends in the process.
Alongside classes, you may also look further into a language exchange program. This pairs people together so that you can practice speaking with each other rather than using an app or textbook.
Volunteer when possible.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and also allows you to form new relationships. You get to work alongside people who share similar values, and it helps you learn more about your chosen country.
Again, there are plenty of resources you can use to find opportunities. Just remember to check that they are authentic and do your research online.
If you’ve started work, take a chance and invite some of your colleagues out for lunch and drinks. You might find that you have a lot in common and can become good friends outside of the office.
Of course, be sure to keep things professional at work. If you are struggling with the company culture, it may be time to think about changing jobs.
Be more open.
Finally, the most important tip of all is to be more open. Say yes to invitations and don’t be afraid to branch outside of your comfort zone. You never know what opportunities and relationships are out there if you don’t take a chance.
Remember the key to preventing culture shock is to explore and immerse yourself in the world around you. While it can be daunting at first, you may soon come to love the different perspectives, customs, and ideas.
There’s no denying that making new friends in a different country is challenging. However, there are tips that you can follow to make the process more manageable. After reading through the above you can now work on meeting new people and pushing yourself to try different things.
Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!
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