Moving for College: How to Make Friends Abroad
Studying abroad can be an enriching experience and it can really build up your resume. At the very least, you'll be exposed to new ways of thinking and doing things, which overall will be a good experience for you.
However, perhaps one reason many students are apprehensive about moving
abroad is the lack of friends. It's certainly scary just going to a foreign country
where you don't know anyone and leaving your friends behind. However, making friends is quite easy abroad, especially with these tips.
Learn the Language
If you're going somewhere where English is hardly (or never) spoken, then the first thing you need to do is learn the language
! This is not just necessary for making friend, but you also need this to talk to your landlord, order at the restaurant or get yourself out of trouble! Learning the local language will enable you to communicate effectively with people and is a great skill to learn. Don't be embarrassed at first - just practice, practice and practice with everyone and anyone from your postman to the shopkeeper at the corner shop and soon you'll get the hang of it. Also, try to learn the local slang. At the very least, showing effort and enthusiasm for the new language will earn you the respect of your new friends.
Live With a Local or Another Exchange Student
Living with someone you already know or someone from the same country can make you feel more local and at home, but it can keep you trapped in your comfort zone. Being roommates
with someone from another country or sharing an apartment with a local can really broaden your experiences. You may even want to look into staying with a local family
, to get a real taste of what local living and customs are like.
Join Social Clubs
With living abroad so popular these days (not to mention so many English teachers and Expats going abroad for better work opportunity) you'll find a lot of Expat and English social clubs popping up in almost any city in the worlds. There are "English corners" and language exchange clubs in many non-English speaking countries as English is fast becoming the leading international language of the world. However, if you look hard enough you'll find almost everything from running clubs (like the Hash House Harriers), travelers and backpackers (Couchsurfing and Hospitality Exchange) and even for those Ladies Who Lunch types.
Go to Local Hangouts
If you're a visitor to Paris, you'll most likely be hanging around the restaurants and cafes near the Eiffel Tower or Champs Elysee. However, now that you're living there, you should go to where the locals go. Areas around schools and universities are usually the best places to go to find other young people (such as Paris' Latin Quarter) so hang around these areas and go into cafes and club and practice you parlez-vous. Often, you'll find like-minded individuals or at the very least have an interesting story to tell when you go back home.