Moving to a new country can be downright intimidating, especially if you’re flying solo. It can be difficult to leave the comfort of familiar faces and old friends. And while it’s normal to miss the folks back home, it can be incredibly rewarding and fun to meet a whole new group of people, who will very likely have a range of backgrounds. Also, thanks to the Internet, getting together with people has never been easier.
Get out of the house and smile
The easiest way to meet others abroad is to get out there and talk to people. And put on your best smile. As simple as this sounds, you have to be ready to risk making a fool of yourself or getting rejected. In the end, you’ll be glad you approached that other person – whether at the store or a bar or a street corner – because you just never know where it might lead. Also, be open to chance encounters with new people who might become your new best friend or greatest ally.
Go to a language school
This might be the ultimate way to assimilate to your new location while meeting others in a similar situation. Plus, once you know the local language, you’ll expand your possible conversation opportunities infinitely. If you’ve already got a basic understanding of the language, another variation of this is to participate in a “language exchange” where you sit down one-on-one with someone who wants to learn your language as well and practice on each other.
Friend of a friend of a friend
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to tap into the connections that you currently have. Talk with friends and family to see if they know anyone in the country that you’re moving to, or send out a mass email. They can provide you with an introduction that otherwise might not have happened.
Give a shout out on social media
Just like using the friend of a friend method, sometimes a general announcement on your favorite social media network, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In, is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. Another network that can be useful when abroad is Couchsurfing.com, which in addition to helping people find a place to stay, often hosts events for travelers and expats to get together.
No matter what route you use to make new friends, always be ready for some magic to happen because you just never know where or how you’ll connect with another person, and it’s often the last place you’d think.