Making friends can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. Throw a spin into it whereby you now live in a foreign country with language and cultural expressions that differ from yours, and suddenly, you’re facing a huge challenge.
While the art of making friends can seem like a trait reserved for a chosen few, there are always ways to navigate a social landscape, even if you believe you’re too much of an introvert.
Remember, making connections in a new country is part of your expat journey, and it’s not as challenging when you learn and tweak popular strategies for making friends.
Let’s find out how you can make new friends in a foreign country.
Sometimes, positive experiences boil down to being a wonderful, kind-hearted fellow.
People appreciate polite conduct and remember it. You don’t want to be “that ill-mannered” foreigner.
Show kindness and decent conduct, and you will win hearts with ease. Smile often, greet people, and try to be easy-going. Being nice is easy when you avoid viewing yourself as different or better than the people around you.
The fear of putting yourself out there is one of the reasons many find it difficult to make friends.
Now that you’re in a foreign country, you basically have a clean slate to shape the direction of your new relationships. It starts with embracing the local culture and making an effort to understand the traditions and social norms.
How do you immerse yourself in the new culture?
You can start by learning the language, engaging with locals, and participating in community functions.
That willingness to be part of the local community opens doors to establishing new relationships.
The internet has made life much easier in almost every possible way.
Sites like International Citizens Group offer resources on various aspects of life as an expatriate. You will find practical advice on topics ranging from the safest destinations to expat forums and communities.
Your social media profile can also be valuable in making connections in a foreign country. Facebook groups, in particular, are effective when you’re looking to connect with like-minded people.
You will most likely find an online expat community with members living near you.
You probably already have a hobby, and if you don’t, now is the best time to find one and ignite your adventurous side.
When language, culture, and almost everything else separates you from the populace, shared interests can help bridge the gap.
Go through activities you’ve always been curious about and wanted to try. Whatever you choose should take you outside as that is where you meet other people.
When you engage in outdoor activities, you have a high chance of meeting people with similar interests.
As an expat, there is much to see and experience in your new country. When the time comes for exploring, take advantage of group tours.
Group excursions have many benefits and one of them is befriending others. The arrangement offers a shared experience, which can be a good foundation for establishing strong connections.
If you’re working abroad, your new workplace allows you to interact with people. The same goes for study environments where individuals from all backgrounds come together.
These two places offer diversity when it comes to personalities, which makes it easier to find people you vibe with.
If you’re studying or working in a foreign country, the thought of being an outsider can hold you back. But if you push past the reluctance and get out there, work and study environments are perfect for building meaningful connections.
Opportunities to volunteer are plenty wherever you are.
Find local causes you believe in and offer to volunteer in their programs. It’s a great way to give back, but it also brings you closer to people who share your values.
Interactions with people you can connect to on a deeper level may result in strong bonds and lifelong friendships.
Making new friends in a foreign country can be challenging, but it’s not a challenge you can’t overcome.
Be yourself, even when stepping out of your comfort zone, and you will find the world full of lovely people. These people like you for you and make amazing lifelong friends.
Armed with the tips we’ve shared, making friends won’t feel like a big hassle.