Life as an expat in a new country can be hard and sometimes lonely, and making friends can seem like an incredibly daunting task which could lead you to stay at home avoiding the situation all together instead of putting yourself out there and giving it a chance.
So, if that sounds like you and you would like some advice on how to make some new friends in your new country of residence, here are four simple and easy ways to get your friendship journey started:
Meetups and Social Media
Expat communities exist across the globe, and with a little help from Google, specific groups on Facebook, or meetup.com, you will be sure to find one in your area that will suit you. Meetup.com is a website consisting of established groups for all interests situated all over the world – including language groups in Spain, hiking clubs in Cape Town, surf clubs that meet at the local beach resort in Morocco, and soccer groups in Dubai – that you can get involved in and meet people who have the same interests as you. You can do the same thing through Facebook by searching for groups that interest you. You can use the groups to ask questions about the relative topics and find out information, for example where the meeting up for book club and if you could join them for the next one. But, be sure to meet people in a public area where there are other people around, for extra safety measures.
House sharing won’t suite everyone, especially those with a family needing their own space. But as a single person or a couple, house sharing is a good way to start meeting people and forming friendships that will end up being the closest thing you will have to family while starting out your life in your new home town. Choosing to live with house mates will enable you to lead semi-separate lives, but equally gain good friends who you are close to, can rely on, and can go out for drinks or dinner with after work or on the weekend.
Say Yes, Always
If you have met someone at a language group, or at the bookshop you visited, and they ask you to go for a drink with them and their friends at a bar, or even surfing at one of the hottest beaches in the country – say yes. By becoming a ‘yes person’, will enable you to be more involved in activities you might never have thought you would ever do (which is an adventure in itself and you may end up loving something you never would have tried otherwise), and will help you to meet fun, interesting and genuine people along the way.
Word of Mouth
By ‘word of mouth’ we mean talk to everyone you know, no matter where they are located in the world. You will be surprised at how often one of your friends knows someone who lives in your new city, giving you an unexpected connection you might never have made otherwise. Ask your friends on Facebook if they know anyone living near you, and even if it ends up being a friend of a friend, you never know what it could amount to. Meeting someone like this may feel similar to attending a blind date, but you never know who you could meet – you might end up being best of friends.