Imagine you move to a new country, imagine you know nobody, imagine they speak differently, imagine… How would you feel? Scared? Excited? Probably a mix of everything… It is a natural feeling!
It is not easy to start a new life where you are away from your family, friends and comfort zone. A new place where you feel different, you have no reassuring routine, no control over things. But if you think about it, it is also a chance to discover, to learn and to grow! We are at our best when we have no other choices than ‘fighting’ … don’t you think? and what is best than trying to fit in a new culture?! I recently posted an article about how great and important it is to make new friends when living abroad. People you would have never met if you have stayed in your home country. People that are going to make a (huge) difference in your life. People that are going to blow your mind… All that said the question is: where to meet these fantastic people?
I would be lying if I say that you are going to bump into them at each corners of the streets, while visiting a museum, attending to an exhibition, sitting at a cafe, staying at home…honestly very rare, chances 2%. But in the other hand I am not lying when I am saying it is not that hard to meet awesome people. I am going to save you all the blabla about: having a good attitude, be open minded, be friendly… I think we already all know that!
So in my experience what works best for me is to go to English classes! Going to school and learn/improve your language skills is a necessity to communicate, to fit in your new country and build a social life. The main reason being because you will be surrounded with people from all other the world, happy to be here, sharing the same passion for English, willing to fit in their new city and looking for friends… so it is a good start since you will be on the same page. I have always met my best friends in English classes and I can assure you they are the BEST! Last time I felt this way about school friendship I was 15… I don’t know if it is the fact that living abroad that makes you feel very emotional or what… but it is true I am strongly attached to my new friends ❤ because we understand each other, we feel the same way, we are supporting each other because we are on the same boat!
Now that I am starting to have experience in living overseas (Australia being my third foreign destination on the list) I also recommend to make friends with locals/natives. Afterall this is the point of your experience here too, you want to feel, breathe, love, act, eat like natives! But I admit it is not the easiest part since locals have already their routine, a busy social life and they speak very fast 😉 Again in my experience what works best for me is to:
- Bond with the neighbors! Easy since they live next door to you and you are going to be in contact with them nearly everyday (I had absolutely lovely neighbors when I was living on Murrays Lane in Adelaide CBD, my friend Nasim has also great neighbors). If you are lucky they can become real good friends and teach you a lot of things about the area.
- Make friends at work! If you don’t have a paid job, you can also look for a volunteer job. Sometimes it is a good opportunity to practise your English but also to be in contact with many people (think about your network!).
- Enroll to different kind of activities you like! Afterall who said that when abroad you can only attend to English classes! OK you are here to learn the language but you can also have fun too! Find something you really enjoy and don’t worry about your English.. you will practise it anyway! Actually it will be even more rewarding to discover that you can use your new language skills in a real life situation with natives! It can be sport, art.. anything you like! Besides English classes, when I was in Canada I took pilates classes, in London I practised yoga and in Australia: Chinese, Spanish and Creative writing! I can assure you that after a few classes, you will be amazed to see that you are already bonding with your classmates and your teachers! Furthermore you will have lot of fun doing and learning something you enjoy!
I hope these few tips will help you to connect in no time with amazing people who will make your experience here inspiring and memorable! Learn the language of your new country and you will have friends for life ❤ Building an enriching social life is the key to your integration and happiness!
Don’t hesitate to share your experiences on this topic, as I think it as interesting as useful!