Making friends as an expat in another country can be challenging, but it’s important for building a sense of community and feeling more at home in your new environment. Here are some tips for an expat adjustment to make friends.
Join local groups and clubs
Joining local groups or clubs based on your interests can be a great way to meet new people who share your hobbies or passions. Look for groups related to sports, fitness, arts, music, or other areas that interest you.
Attend social events
Attending social events like parties, cultural festivals, or community gatherings can be a good way to meet new people and get a sense of the local culture. Check local newspapers or event listings to find out what’s happening in your area.
Volunteering for local organizations or charities can be a great way to meet like-minded people and give back to your new community. Look for volunteer opportunities at local shelters, hospitals, or community centers.
Language and cultural training programs
Joining language exchange programs can be a fun way to learn the local language while meeting new people. These programs typically pair up individuals who speak different languages to practice conversation skills. Learning more about your cultural blueprint and comparing it to your host culture will provide more insights into cultural understanding.
Use social media
Social media can be a helpful tool for connecting with other expats or locals in your area. Look for Facebook groups or online forums for expats or join local groups on Meetup.com to find events and activities that interest you.
An Expat Adjustment Experience
One of the biggest characteristics of the expatriate experience, particularly being a continuous expat, is making friends over and over again. You move, you get used to where you are, you meet people you like, develop friendships, and get settled. Then, before you know it, it may be time to move again and you start the entire cycle all over. The first days, weeks, or even months in a new place often feel lonely and frustrating as you try to figure out life while also having a small or non-existent support network. Here are some ways you can help yourself create that network and keep creating it as you move from country to country.
First, look at the whole experience of having to make friends as an opportunity rather than a hurdle. You get to explore what’s out there. Your old friends are wonderful of course, but if you have not moved you would have missed out on the friendships you are about to make. You may meet someone who will inspire you to write a book, someone who may partner with you to develop a successful business, or someone who is a great coffee companion. The possibilities for connections are endless. When you look at this continuous experience of making friends as a possibility rather than an obstacle, it becomes a much easier process to start.
Second, manifest. We all manifest what we want whether we are aware of it or not. Start by writing down your concerns and fears about finding the support you need. That will help empty your mind of the limiting thoughts that may be blocking you from moving forward. Next, manifest who you want to meet by writing down what kind of friends you are looking for. What do you want your new friends to have? How do you want them to be? Be fully aware of what you’re wanting out of this experience and go get it.
Third, spring into action. It’s time for you to do your part. Your part is taking the actions possible to get what you want. Go to every meeting and every get together you can to branch out. Yes, it could turn out to be a complete waste of time but you would never know what good you could get out of it if you don’t try. Every meeting out there carries new opportunities.
Life is always offering us new beginnings; it’s up to us if we want to act on them or not. We can choose to stay by the sidelines waiting for things to happen to us or we can choose to be active and seek out every opportunity. Only by experiencing new things will you know what resonates and what’s in harmony with who you are.
Remember that making friends as an expat takes time and effort. Be patient and open-minded, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and initiate conversations with new people. With persistence and a positive attitude, you can successfully build a network of friends and feel more at home in your new country. Expat adjustment has it’s rewards.
Written by: Cultural Business Consulting in collaboration with Margarita Gokun Silver