4 tips on how to meet new friends when moving abroad
How to meet new friends in a new city
When you are living abroad and you are in a new city, it can be a challenge to know where to go and figure out how to meet new people. If you are alone and just moved to a new city it takes a bit more effort from you in order to make new friends. But don’t let that scare you away, because this article will give you some good tips on how you can make new friends in a new place. Fortunately, we live in a digital era, which comes in handy as it opens up a lot of opportunities when you want to do research about the city or find different meetup platforms.
1. Do you know anyone who lives there?
The first thing to do when moving to a new country or new city is that scanning your network to see if you know anyone who lives there. If it happens that you know someone who lives there you should ask that person if he or she wants to meet up for a coffee or beer and have a chat. Even though you don’t know that person very well, when you meet other people that live abroad they tend to be more than willing to help you since they have been in the same situation as you. If you enjoy each other’s company you already have a good foundation for building a new network from scratch. That person might want to introduce you to his or her friends, which will be a good opportunity to meet a group of people in a more or less casual way.
If you don’t know anyone who lives there, but you know a friend or family member who used to live there, it can be a good idea to ask them if they know anyone who lives there now. It could be a foreigner or a local, no matter what, meeting up with someone who has already lived there for some time or even just a couple of months can be very useful.
2. Making use of your hobbies
Another way to make new friends when you are in a foreign country is to make use of your hobbies. The good thing about hobbies is that you always bring them along with you wherever you go. There is a chance that you can utilize them when you are going abroad. If your hobby is bouldering, you can look up bouldering places. If you are a DJ, you can look up clubs that play your type of music. If you like to play basketball, you can search for basketball courts. If you play the guitar play it in a park to make enough money to pay your rent. 🙂
My point is using your hobby can be an easy way to connect with other people, because it will seem more natural since you primarily focus on the activity. Later on, it will be easier to break the ice since you have shared an experience with them before you start small talking with them. For instance, when you meet someone at a bar or at meeting-new-people events it might feel a bit more “fake” and less casual because your mind says “Go make some friends, this is your chance!”. So you kind of start from 0 and your goal is to make friends, and that can be overwhelming and for some, it might be too big of a leap. But when you meet people through your hobby you build common ground with other people plus it will be in an area that you are familiar and comfortable with.
Facebook is a great place to find local organisations or sports clubs. Spend a little time researching on facebook and google, and write a letter to the club to check when the next meetup is.
3. Using different social platforms
There are several useful online platforms were you can meet new people. There are couchsurfing.com and meetup.com just to mention a few. Couchsurfing is a good way to look for like-minded people who share the same interest as you, and if you find someone where you feel there is good chemistry it can be a good experience. If you want to use Couchsurfing it is a good idea be to make sure you have the same expectations, as it is a host platform and not a “find a friend platform”.
Meetup is also a good site that you can find social events in your area and meet up with new people. You can even search for events that suit your interests and this will increase your chances of meeting someone who shares the same passion as you. Facebook groups are also a good channel to meet someone new, you just have to be creative about what kind of groups you search for!
InterNations.com, asmallworld.com is more for events and for people 25 + but these are full of exciting business people, and professional networkers so it could be a good idea to attend some of their events.
In general when you start showing up for events regularly, let’s say once a week, you will probably see the same people over and over again. And over time you will get the feeling that you know them and it can become more natural to talk to them.
4. Attend to language courses
Depending on how long you are going to stay in a new city, you can always consider to sign up for language courses. If you are staying for more than three months it can be a good way to meet new people who are in a similar situation as you. Language courses are not only a nice way to meet other foreigners, but it is also a good way to get to know something about the culture and their language. And who knows where that might take you, in the long run, it can be another way to meet more local people. When you come to a new city as a foreigner, the local people would really respect you if you actually show some kind of interest in their culture and language. But of course it takes a lot of effort and dedication to learn a new language, but no ones say you have to become fluent. Being able to say a couple of phrases or sentences is always far better than not being able to say anything at all. There is no better time to learn a language than when you have a chance to use it in your daily life.
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