5 ways to make new friends abroad for international students
Studying abroad is a big step for your personal growth as it puts us in contact with a new reality. It’s also a challenge because it means being away from what you know for a long time to go to an unknown – or almost unknown – place and in some way start again, even if it is for a few months or years.
Creating a network of acquaintances is useful for many reasons, the first of which is not to feel lonely in a new city with different habits than in the country you come from. That is why we give you some tips on how to make new friends abroad and make the months ahead more enjoyable.
1 – Be open to new experiences
This might seem a bit trivial advice, since you have decided to go study abroad, and should therefore already be well prepared to try new things. Yet many people, once arrived, focus solely on their studies. Pursuing your studies is of course very important, but it is equally important to take advantage of the experience abroad to test yourself on new things.
Enjoy the city you chose, go out and be open to new experiences: they will open your mind, and give you the chance to meet new people!
2 – Share a passion: practice some leisure activity or sport
A cultural activity (for example an artistic workshop) or practicing a sports or going to a gym are excellent ways to meet people with shared interests, and start a conversation. You can do this by joining clubs or extra-curricular activities that you find interesting, in order to know people who attend the same college or university. Or you can check on meetup.com and find out something that interests you more.
Joining a class to learn a language could also be a good opportunity. You’ll find other people who, like you, have come to the country for various reasons.
3 – Go volunteering
Giving your time to a charitable cause is another brilliant way to make friends, and it is very rewarding. There are many organizations that seek volunteers to help with their cause from animals shelters to the environment. Your student organization may also be a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities. Or just do a Google search to find one in your neighborhood or near the college/university.
4 – Use the communal spaces in your student residence
If you’re staying in a student residence, take advantage of the common shared spaces (the kitchen, living room, garden, etc.) to get to know the other students better. As you are all off-site students, you will certainly have a lot to share and advice to give. Plus maybe you will get to know people from your own country too and feel less homesick.
5 – Go out and have fun
Each university has lot of events to choose from: reading groups, disco nights… you’ll be spoilt for choice! There are also language happy hours in some cities, and apps not only to find a soul mate, but also new friendships. So find out what the city has to offer and jump into the fray! This way you will not only have company, but also the opportunity to visit the city you are in and face your studies with more serenity.
Hopefully our tips will help you making new friends abroad!
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