5 Great Tips for Making New Friends Abroad

by David Tompkins

Here are five great ways of making new friends as an expat

The second hardest thing about being an expat is making new friends abroad (the first would be planning your cost of living abroad). You may be an expat on an assignment or a digital nomad on a journey to find work-life balance. You’re both struggling to make new friends in a foreign country. You don’t even speak the language! But every problem has a solution, and many digital nomads, international citizens, and expats have tried and tested these methods. Here are five great ways of making new friends abroad.

making new friends abroad

Take advantage of your hobbies

As an expat, list down your favorite hobbies and pick the ones you want to explore in your new country. Maybe you would like to improve on your snowboarding skills or be a complete novice at pottery. No matter your skill level, you can talk to a room full of classmates. You can speak to other newbies, and even learn a few tricks from your partner. If you’re an experienced hobbyist, you can share your adventure stories with others.

Similarly, you can also take up competitive sports. If you’re into volleyball, find a local community hall that runs these games. It’s a sure way to build team spirit and cool new friends!

making new friends abroad

Join a language exchange club

Another tip of making new friends abroad is by learning the local language. It is especially useful when your new home country doesn’t speak your native language. One of the best ways to do this is to join a language exchange club. It is an excellent opportunity to strike conversations and learn together.

Similarly, it also helps to learn the culture, history, and politics of the country. It will give you enough content to carry a conversation throughout the class.  At the end of the day, you’ve made a friend and learned a new language.

Volunteer for your favorite cause

Whether you love animals or are passionate about ending climate change, you can support these causes and build friendships through volunteering. It allows you to find people with the same values, and you will have so much to talk about. If you’re volunteering at a dog shelter, you might be invited to a doggy meet-up. You get to have plenty of cuddle sessions with puppies with your new friends!

You can easily find local volunteer groups online as they would have their Facebook page or Instagram accounts. Just type in ‘volunteer opportunities [name of your local area]’ and choose your best fit. Find something that has regular schedules, so you have the chance to meet people often.

making new friends abroad

Social networking online and offline

A popular choice for many expats and even locals are Meet-up.com. It is a great place to meet people with similar interests. You can choose a myriad of activities and meet new people. Avoid venues with loud music or crowded people as it defeats the whole purpose. Going for a coffee will help in breaking the ice without any distractions. It is also a lot more casual.

It is also necessary to have an open mind when meeting new people from the online world. Keep in mind that sometimes, it may not work out, and that’s okay. The important part is that you took a step forward.

Pick your community

Another excellent tip for making new friends abroad is by joining a community of your chosen faith. Being a part of such communities will help overcome cultural differences and break down barriers to friendships. It is also a great way to bring people of different nationalities together. You get another opportunity to learn about a different culture and how your faith works in this country.

Finally, have an independent spirit (bonus)

Having an independent spirit is vital. Being an expat can often feel lonely, and you need to be fearless. You need to be strong when handling loneliness. You have to change your perspective on how you view loneliness. Use this opportunity to know yourself, to understand your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It will make you a great friend.

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