We all know that awkward feeling when you find yourself among new people, without a single familiar face, and you just get cold feet, you can’t help but feel like an outsider there. Meeting new people and making friends with them is quite easy when you are in your hometown, but it can be a real nightmare when you move to another country. Well, it can be, but that’s not necessarily the case. We have prepared some ideas for finding new friends in a whole new country so that you can avoid the ‘nightmare’ part and just enjoy your time there from the very beginning.
Even if you consider yourself to be a loner and you think you can do on your own just fine, believe us, these tips will come in handy at some point. Yes, you can chat to your friends and family at home via Skype, you can always text them or send them a photo of whatever you want to share with them, but sooner or later, you’ll realize that that’s not enough and that you need to talk to someone in person. Don’t wait for that to happen. Remember the following ideas and make sure you make friends in the country you have just moved to as soon as possible. We hope you’ll find our list useful and enjoyable. So, let’s start.
Ask for contacts among friends and relatives
The first thing you could do is talk to your friends and relatives at home and ask them if they know somebody who is living in your new place of residence. Perhaps they’ll remember someone living in a town near yours; it’s still a good beginning. This way of meeting someone might seem awkward at first, because that’s probably not how you would have met them back at home, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get past that uncomfortable feeling.
Join Local Activities
Once you move to the country in question, don’t just spend your free time watching movies at home or binge-watching your favourite series. Go out, find out about some activities organized by the locals that you might take interest in and take part in those. You can participate in a weekend workshop or attend a lecture about your favourite writer. Whatever it is, just go there and surround yourself with people who share your interests. Having something in common with those people will help you see potential friends in them and not just strangers. Ask someone how they liked the workshop/lecture or whatever you have chosen. Ask them if they can recommend other similar activities that you could take part in in the future. Ask them to join you. Then the next time you might meet some of their friends and their friends’ friends and, before you know it, you will realize you have a group of people to share your interests with and chat with over a cup of coffee.
Now, if you don’t feel comfortable enough to interact with the locals from the very beginning, that’s okay, there are still other ways of finding someone to keep you company. Do some research and find out about expat events, clubs and associations. There must be plenty of them, all you need to do is put some effort in learning which ones would work best for you. Once you get involved with any of these, you’ll probably feel much better, because you will get to know not just some new people, but people who are going through the same as you are. They have also left their cozy towns and perhaps now feel lonely and scared, too, so it would mean a lot to you to share those feelings with someone who understands them better than just a sympathetic listener.
Find a Language Partner
The next thing you can do is find someone who has also moved from another country and needs a partner for language learning. That way, not only do you get a study buddy, but you also get the chance to make friends with that person. The even better option is to find some of the local people who might be interested in learning your mother tongue, so you can help each other. Let’s face it, who can help you more than a native speaker?
Furthermore, you should not be afraid of striking up a conversation with an absolute stranger. Be the first one to approach a co-passenger or someone waiting on the same bus stop. When you’re taking a bus/train, you probably tend to just plug in your headphones and ignore the world around you. Of course you should do that sometimes, especially if you’re not really in a good mood. However, you should also try something new. Leave your headphones and put your phone in your pocket and pay attention to the stranger sitting next to you. If someone catches your eye and you notice that they are looking back at you, don’t leave it at that. Go over there and strike up a conversation about whatever random topic crosses your mind. Just let your hair down and have fun.
In case you’re moving to another country with your family and you have children, you can meet your children schoolmates’ parents and ask them to show you around or have them come over for a cup of coffee while your children are playing or doing their homework together.
Finally, once you get to know at least a couple of your new co-workers, throw a party or invite them over for dinner. Encourage them to bring their friends outside of work and show them all how great a host you are.
We hope that you liked our ideas and that you’ll find them useful once you start your life all over someplace else. Just remember, do not let your fear of the unknown ruin your first weeks or even months in a new country/city. Explore it, make new friends who are willing to join your adventure and have the time of your life!