How to Make Friends in a New Country
Today I wanted to talk about a subject that may come easy for some, but it may not be as easy for others, which is making friends in a new country. Either because you are shy, or you hardly speak the language, sometimes meeting people and making friends can be a little difficult than usual and I am here to help you overcome this barrier when you move to a new country. So below I will point out some ideas that you can use on a day to day basis, but it will definitely require a little work and initiative from you, so embrace the challenge :).
Join groups or clubs that interest you
Whether you join a Business club at University or a group like Toastmasters, there are many ways you can meet people that will have the same interest as you. The ideas are endless, so just search in your university, ask your work’s colleagues, or even the people you already know to see if they are involved in something interesting. If you haven’t found anything you like, you can even start one yourself – like start a travel or fashion meetup group, or a football team, or even through fantasy teams you can meet new people (if you like American football).
Take classes on something
This is a similar way of meeting people compared to the above, but in this case you will also be actively learning or improving a skill while you are meeting friends. Either you take classes in tennis, photography, business or making cocktails, whatever it is that appeals to you, it can be a great way to meet like-minded people.
Search for groups with people from the same country as you
I know that as a Brazilian living overseas I have always seen Facebook groups with a related title out there. Here you will be joining a more familiar atmosphere, and especially for those of you who feel homesick or don’t speak the language, this is a great way to make friends who will be in a similar position as you and who have culturally similar interests.
Join a Meetup group
MeetUp is a website that offers a wide variety of groups where you can join and participate. You can even create your own group there. Just search for one that attracts you and start attending their events. They normally have a host who will help you with introducing you to the other members, so don’t worry if you show up by yourself. Also, people who go there come with the same intention as you so they are usually very open. However, this option may not work for some of you as this website is not available everywhere.
Sign up to websites or apps that connect people
Either you are looking for some romance or just friends, we all know that the internet and apps can be a great way to start off. Just be careful with who you are meeting and sharing your personal information. Always meet in a public place and if the person seems a bit off to you, don’t hesitate to end the date.
Join a church or religious group
For those who are religious, this is the best way to meet like minded people and this is probably something that already came to your mind, even if you didn’t think about making friends there. In any case, churches and other religious institutions usually organize different social events where you can gather together and meet friends.
Try to be more open and start conversations when you have a chance
I know that this may feel a bit awkward sometimes, but whenever you see a chance (and when you know you won’t appear too creepy :) ) try to start a conversation with someone. Either when you are at a café or bar, or waiting at the dentist, this could be a good way to meet new people as well. I know this for a fact because, unlike me, my mom starts conversation with people whenever she sees an opportunity, and she has made a lot of friends like that. Starting conversation with random people can be a bit intimidating and their feedback will vary a lot with their cultural background, but it can be worth it.