Living abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, offering you the chance to explore new cultures, languages, and perspectives. However, it can also be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to making friends in a foreign land. In the world of digitalization, most people are opting for online or live online TEFL/TESOL programs because of the fear of blending in. Despite this fear, building connections with locals and fellow expats is essential for a fulfilling overseas experience. So, how do you do this? Read on to know more!
5 Ways To Make Friends When Living Away From Home
Here are 5 tips to connect with strangers in a foreign land:
1. Embrace Local Culture and Activities
One of the most natural ways to make friends while living abroad is to immerse yourself in the local culture and activities. Participate in events, festivals, and traditions that are unique to your host country. This not only allows you to learn more about the culture but also provides opportunities to meet like-minded individuals who share your interests.
The fun part of living abroad is choosing your accommodation. You can choose to stay in a hostel rather than an apartment to blend well with the locals and have fun. Most hostels even offer pub crawls, guided tours, and other activities you can join. By engaging in such activities, you not only learn about the local culture but also increase your chances of meeting locals and other expats who have a genuine interest in the culture.
2. Language Exchange
Learning the local language is not only a practical skill but also an excellent way to connect with people abroad. Seek out language exchange programs or conversation partners to help you improve your language skills while making friends. Many cities have language exchange events where locals and expats gather to practice different languages.
By participating in these exchanges, you not only improve your language proficiency but also build meaningful connections with people who are eager to share their culture and learn about yours. Language is a bridge that can help you connect on a deeper level with the people around you.
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3. Join Expat Communities
Expatriate communities are widespread in most major cities around the world. These communities are typically comprised of individuals who have relocated to the same area for work or personal reasons. Joining expat groups or forums can be a great way to meet people who are going through similar experiences.
Attend expat social events, join online forums, and become an active member of expat clubs or organizations. Expat communities often organize social gatherings, cultural outings, and support networks, which can be invaluable for building friendships and getting advice on adapting to your new surroundings.
4. Volunteer or Engage in Hobbies
Volunteering and pursuing hobbies are universal ways to connect with people, regardless of where you are in the world. Consider volunteering for a local charity or nonprofit organization. Not only will you be contributing to a good cause, but you'll also meet people who share your passion for making a difference.
Additionally, explore your interests and hobbies abroad. Join clubs or groups that align with your interests, whether it's hiking, photography, cooking, or art. Sharing a common interest with others can provide an instant connection and create opportunities for friendships to blossom.
5. Attend Social Networking Events
Many cities host social networking events or expat mixers specifically designed for people looking to make new friends. Keep an eye out for these events in your area and make an effort to attend them. These gatherings often provide a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for meeting new people.
Social networking events can range from casual meetups at local bars to more structured networking events with specific themes or industries. They offer an excellent platform for mingling, exchanging contact information, and building connections with both locals and expats.
Safety Tips While Staying Abroad
Now that you have learned how to make friends in a new land, take a look at some tips to stay safe while meeting with strangers:
- Send your location to your close ones for them to be aware
- Meet up in a restaurant, park or public place for the first time
- Trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t
- Take control of your drinking habits while put with your new friends
Don’t Let Your Fear Stop You
Making friends while living abroad requires an open mind, a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, and a proactive approach to socializing. It is going to be scary at first since to have no clue about what to expect. But you wouldn't want your hard-earned live online TEFL/TESOL program certificate to go to waste right?
So, try out the above-mentioned ways to expand your social circle and make your overseas adventure even more fulfilling. Building friendships abroad not only enriches your experience but also helps you create lasting memories and connections that can last a lifetime.
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