09 Sep Visiting, Living or Moving Abroad?! Here are 7 Tips on how to make friends in a foreign country
Are you visiting, Living or Moving Abroad?! I am sure that you might be wondering how to make friends in a foreign country. One of the most difficult parts of moving abroad from your hometown is leaving your family and friends behind. Especially for us Latinas who are so close to our loved ones. Even though you cannot replace your special ones, you can always find ways to make new friends, acquaintances or travel buddies. In the end, meeting new people abroad is the most memorable part of your new beginnings in any city. No friends, no problem! Check out these simple tips to grow your community in a new country so that you won’t be too homesick.
How to make friends in a foreign country
1. If you are in a foreign country, it is savvy to join websites such as internations.org which is a network for expats to exchange tips on visas, city guides, language schools and more. They also organize meet ups and fun events. There is also another website, Link Expats that lets you search for people living abroad by regions and even by nationalities. Hola amig@, vamos a bailar! Also, in Google you can find many other expat networks in your new location.
2. Facebook groups are super powerful. You can meet the most amazing people. For example, when I moved from New York to Berlin, I met new friends through Expats Berlin Groups, Freelancer Groups, Latinos in Berlin, you name it! Hint: I even found my new latino hairdresser this way. A definite must have in a new country for us Latinas! In addition, groups like Latinas Who Travel are great resources for learning tips and tools for your trip or moving abroad. These groups also let you connect with other chicas who may be living in the same area or are just visiting. You can always post to find advice or simply to find a travel partner.
Berlin, Germany (Photo Credit: Dreamsinheels.com)
3. If you are a person who loves hosting others in your new place, you can always do things like Couchsurfing, which allows you to let someone stay in your home. You may even make friends (permanent or temporary) who’ll want to go on a day trip with you, a city adventure or bar hopping. Important: Always take precautions and read the reviews of the person on the website. Of course, you cannot simply just let anyone stay in your home, but I’ve heard so many positive experiences that I have to include it here. Also, if you have an extra room, you can list it as an Air BNB and make a little extra income as well. It is a great way to meet new people.
4. For those of us who work from home, or other latina digital nomads, check out opportunities for co-working spaces, where you meet fellow entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative people. You can also take advantage of free Wi-Fi at your local cafes and eateries. Great way to be inspired by the local culture and scenery. I have met many people this way, especially when you become one of the regulars.
5. In this era of technology, there are so many apps that can help you to make and connect with new friends. If you want to learn a new language, try Hello Talk. It is a really fun app that connects you with people, depending on the languages they speak or want to learn. Some users might live near you. How great is it to meet people with common interests?! If you just want to go out and dance (we Latinas have moves), there is an app called Party with a Local. It is exactly what it sounds like and a great way to learn about the best local spots for anything – shopping, food, coffee, etc. Locals are usually your best resource!
6. One of my all-time favorite websites wherever I go is Meetup.com; it is a great way to find activities to do in any city around the world! You can find anything from groups within Meetup that organize day trips, workshops, events, parties and the best part is that usually the groups are organized in such a way as to connect likeminded people. For example, there are meetups for yogis, for wine enthusiasts, for beer lovers, for ladies only, for digital nomads, for travelers, for latina hikers, for speed dating, for artists, for entrepreneurs, etc. You can pretty much find a meetup for anything and everything. It is definitely one of the best kept secrets for making friends in a foreign country, regardless if you are visiting, living short-term, or living abroad.
7. Last but not least, if you are looking to meet a special someone, try tinder, a dating app that allows you to connect with people around you. You never know who you’ll meet. If you are in Scandinavia, Germany or other areas (where men tend to be alittle shy and don’t usually make the first move right away), an app like Bumble breaks the traditional dating approaches and only lets women make the first contact. You get different matches like tinder, but in this case you have to be the one to initiate the conversation.
Hope that these tips help you to transition more smoothly to living somewhere new or visiting for the first time (what an adventure!) and ultimately, inspires you to meet new people while abroad. Enjoy building new friendships and memories to sustain you while you create a new home (long-term or short-term) for yourself. Enjoy!