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16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country

Making friends when you move abroad isn’t easy for everyone, especially if you’re an introvert. The country you move to can also speed up the process of making some friends or not. 

When I moved abroad, I found it a bit difficult to make friends. I’ve always been shy and the type of person who doesn’t like to start a conversation because I have no idea what to say. However, it wasn’t until I challenged myself to find ways to meet people, I made friends.

If you’re in the same position I was, I’m going to tell you all the different things you can do to meet people – whether you want to hang out with locals to learn about the culture and improve the language or meet expats like you.

16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country 16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country

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12 Useful tips on how to make friends in a new country 

Get out of your comfort zone

The number one rule when moving abroad is getting out of your comfort zone, and the same comes with making friendships.

In the beginning, it’s very easy to say you’re fine with the video calls you have with friends from your hometown. But over time, you’ll feel like you need to meet people, and for that, you need to step out of your comfort zone and make an effort.

It isn’t the same to make friends in your 30s as when you’re 18 years old. We become pickier and wiser choosing new friends, which is a good thing but not when you’ve just moved abroad.

Be interested in your new country’s culture and language

I believe you moved to a new country because there’s something about that country that attracts you, and makes you want to learn more about the culture and language.

However, you may have moved to a country because of a job opportunity, your family, better education, etc.

No matter the reason why you’ve moved to this new country, being interested in the culture and language will help you have a better experience.

Not only will lead you to meet the locals, but feel more integrated with your new country.

London eye view

📌 Related blog: 11 Things Nobody Tells You About Moving Abroad Alone

Live somewhere social

This tip can be a bit controversial, but the reality is that the country you plan to live in can make meeting the locals easier or more difficult.

Different countries have different cultures, and therefore, people engage and communicate with others in different ways.

Some nationalities come across as friendly, welcoming, and maybe “too close” for certain people, whereas others are more reserved.

If you’re an introverted person and you move to a country where locals tend to be reserved, it’ll take you more time to adapt and meet and make friends.

Join an expat Facebook group

Something, which really helped me meet new people when I moved to the UK, was joining a Facebook group. 

Although the group was mainly focused on Spanish people moving to Leeds, it gave me the opportunity to connect with other expats like me, get some job opportunities and meet locals through expats who had been living in the city for a few years.

Wherever you’re moving, you can find a Facebook group. They’re extremely useful for job opportunities, accommodation, making friends, saving money by buying second-hand things you may need for your new place.

Use social media

Social media isn’t only about posting photos or videos but making connections. When moving abroad social media can be a channel to make friends too.

If you’re on Instagram, look for people in the area you live, you can find them on the hashtags page or location.

It’s also worth checking who you are following too, because it may be that you have someone who lives exactly where you’ll be moving to in the next couple of months or weeks.

16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country 16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country

I’ve used Instagram many times to make friends abroad, and all the times have worked well. The reason behind this is that you’ve connected because you may have similar interests.

Some of the friends I made on Instagram have become good friends in real person, and I keep in touch with them very often. 

If it sounds weird or intimidating to you, make sure to talk to this person on the DMs and even schedule a video call. If you connect on DMs or a video call, it’s likely that person is fun to be around with.

Use Couchsurfing or become an au pair

If you feel like you want to meet people just right after you’ve moved to your new country, it’s good to consider options such as becoming an au pair or Couchsurfing

I would recommend considering these two options if you’re planning to move somewhere for a shorter period of time as you may want to have more privacy or feel ready to move on your own or with someone else.

However, either option will allow you to meet locals from the moment you land in the new country. By living with them, you’ll learn about the culture, meet their friends, and get to visit places that only locals know among other advantages.

Attend a language exchange

If you’re hundred per cent committed to improving the local language or any language, you should look for language exchanges in your new city.

Not only will they help you improve your language skills, but make friends. All the people that attend a language exchange go for the same reasons as you – meeting new people and learning or improving a foreign language.

It’s a great atmosphere to make friends because well-organised language exchanges often include small games or activities in which you need to mix in with people you don’t know at all. 

These activities lead you to have a conversation with people you think you may connect with later. 

If you’re wondering where you can find these language exchanges, you can simply visit websites like Meetup, join a Facebook group or Google if you don’t find any language exchanges in any of these two.

Despite being an introvert, these language exchanges helped me to push myself to meet new people and make good friends I still keep in touch with.

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A great way to make friends while helping others is volunteering. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that you can take part in. 

Volunteering isn’t probably on your mind when you’ve just moved to a new city and you’re busy sorting out your stuff, however, you don’t need to volunteer Monday to Friday.

Most volunteer opportunities are very flexible and happy for you to do whatever you can or feel to do. Yes, even if it’s 1 hour per week or every fortnight, it’s better than nothing.

Although you spend time doing the volunteer activity, you get to meet other volunteers and the people who organise it. They’re probably very friendly and happy to meet people like you.

Also, you can find all sorts of volunteer opportunities – from cooking meals or gardening to interpreting and teaching.

Find a hobby

Finding a hobby can be an excellent way to make new friends in a foreign country because it allows you to make connections with people with similar interests as you.

But maybe you already have a hobby and you’d like to retake it in your new place. In both ways, it’s very easy to find workshops or lessons in your new city by looking on the internet.

You just need to type your hobby and the city or town on Google to find different lessons. Depending on how big is the place you’re moving to, you’ll need to check nearby towns if there aren’t any lessons in your new place.

These lessons often involve interacting with others by taking part in group activities or even meetings after the lessons which will definitely help you make friends if you’re an introvert.

16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country 16 Useful Tips On How To Make Friends In A New Country

Go to the gym

Do you love keeping fit? Join your local gym to meet other people who love being active. 

Going to the gym may not be the easiest way to make friends, but something that really helps is joining the group sessions. 

Whether you love Zumba or kickboxing, these group sessions are fun and give you more chances to speak to new people.

If the gym isn’t for you, have a look at yoga or dance studios.

Join language lessons

If you’re new to the language, you want to improve or even learn another language, joining language lessons will lead you to talk to other open-minded people who love other cultures. 

I remember language lessons at school or high school weren’t as fun as they are now. They used to be only focused on grammar exercises.

However, language lessons have improved a lot over time. When I moved to Leeds, I joined French language lessons through university. They were fun and I got to know other people.

Attending language lessons is a win-win situation because you become more confident and better at the language you’re learning and you meet other people through group and couple speaking and interacting activities. 

Find opportunities to make small talk to find common interests

Do you struggle to start a conversation with a stranger? If so, I’m in the same boat as you. 

As you don’t know this person, it’s difficult to ask questions but everyone goes through the same process. 

Actually, you don’t need to know anything about this person, you just need to talk about simple things such as the place where you are, the weather or even the food (if you happen to be in a cafe or restaurant).

Say yes to all the invitations

Good news: you’ve been invited to a house party or an event. However, you start overthinking everything “Will I make friends?”, “What should I wear?”, “What happens if I don’t know what to say?”, “What happens if the person I’m going with leaves me out?” etc.

You start thinking about the worst scenario, and you feel like you shouldn’t go to this event, just in case you end up disappointed.

I know the feeling because I’ve been there many times, however, not attending can mean missing out on making new friends, meeting the love of your life or eating delicious food. 

In the worst case, you’ll learn something about yourself or someone else, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

So next time someone invites you over, say yes! Saying yes will lead you to new things or experiences. 

📌 Related blog: 9 Difficulties of living in a foreign country that no one tells you

Get to know your friend’s friends

If you’ve already made a friendship, you’re in a good position because this new friend may invite you over or to a party which it’s a great opportunity to make new friends.

You won’t have to worry about making the first move because it’s likely your friend will introduce you to her friends. 

Once you’ve been introduced to her friends, make sure to start a good conversation topic, find common interests, ask about themselves (everyone likes to be liked and asked about themselves) and if things are going well, arrange another meetup.

Other useful tips to consider when making friends abroad

Right Mindset For Long Term Travel

Allow all the emotions

Making friends isn’t easy for everyone, and what works for someone doesn’t for someone else. You need to understand that meeting new people and making friends do take time, especially when you’re alone and new in a new country.

Allow yourself to feel sad, upset or disappointed but don’t let these feelings take over you.

Maybe making friends abroad is difficult because of the language barrier, the cultural differences or you’re an introvert, however, you’ll eventually meet amazing people that will become friends or your future partner.

Learn to be happy alone

If you’ve moved abroad on your own, as I did, you’ll have to learn to be happy alone until you meet the right people.

After all, being alone isn’t bad, but a great way to discover more about yourself and do whatever you want whenever you want!

If you have any questions or want any advice on living abroad, reach me by email or on Instagram. I’m always happy to help.

Cristina xx

P.S. Do you know any friends who are moving abroad? Share the blog with them.

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Frequently asked questions about making friends overseas

How do I make friends in another country?

Some ways to make friends in another country are:
– Join a language lesson.
– Use social media.
– Volunteer.
– Be interested in the culture.
– Attend language exchanges.

Which country is easy to make friends in?

Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uganda, Colombia, Taiwan, and Israel are the top countries for making friends for expats.

Within Europe, some of the best countries to make friends are Portugal and Spain.

How do you make friends from other countries online?

Making friends online is very easy with the use of social media and websites that are dedicated to meetups and local events.

Facebook groups are extremely useful to get advice and make friends.

Other resources for moving abroad that you will find useful

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