Here you are, in the hallway of your new home, everything is set and delivered and now comes the period of big adjustments. This new chapter in life, moving abroad, brings so many difficult but rewarding feelings with it. Your new home, in this new country, on this new continent, you just can’t escape the feeling of everything being new to you.
This feeling kicks in especially when you find yourself in a place where you don’t really known anyone, with a strong urge to fit right in and be likeable. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, let’s not kid ourselves. The ecstatic experience of making new friends in a new community is easy for some, but most seek advice before jumping in and introducing themselves.
But, how are you going to go about meeting new people? You can view this article as a guide to managing in a foreign country, with some universal tips on how to successfully win at this game of socializing and making new connections with people of different background. Some of these tips were tested by us, and were proven to work, and some are just regular tips on going about around new people.
Have in mind though, before we move on, the type of mentality you will be moving into. Not all of us laugh at same jokes, that is something to bear in mind from the start. Here’s what to do:
Before Boarding The Plane: or the ship, or whatever type of vessel by which you will be arriving to your new country… Think of all the people you know and their connections. Try to recall if any of them every told you about relatives in your country of choice. Chances are that a friend of a friend lives there, or a cousin or someone’s former lover. Although links such as knowing your cousin, working for the same company but at different times, or coming from the same town as a husband of your friend, would not make you contact the person on your home territory, it is a perfectly adequate link for contacting among expats. So don’t think of it as weird. Just dive in and see who you can meet.
Start Early: You can even practice conversing with someone on a plane to your destination. We guarantee you there will be plenty of questions you want to ask the person who sits next to you, because it is highly probable they themselves live there. They will then want to tell you all they know, and you can find out useful, first-hand information while killing time on an airplane. Upon landing, go around and do some exploring. Find out about local habits when moving to a new neighborhood, for example: whether it is common to visit your new neighbors and introduce yourself or invite them round. Do so, and see which of them might have a similar lifestyle, kids of a similar age, shared pastimes or a similar professional background.
Seize All The Opportunities: We all need to be more active in one or another aspect of our life. During high school and college, you may have gotten lazy and your social skills became somewhat rusty. When you’re in a new city, or no longer in college, the opportunities usually don’t pop up as often. You have to be a little more on top of things when it comes to following up with people you hit it off with. Be more active about getting their contact information the first time. If you’ve only chatted to them for a bit, it’s still probably okay to add them on Facebook.
Establish Your Own Network: This ties into what we’ve said in the previous paragraphs. To build a network of people, make sure you tell people in your life about your plans, and you will be surprised how they might help. When you touch down in the new city, mention the fact that you’re new there. While having a casual chit chat with a person you’ve encountered, mention but don’t be intrusive about your new status of an expat. Sometimes you can get lucky and those people will refer you to some services you can find valuable in the new country.
Adopt a Hobby: That’s only if we assume you don’t already have one. Some hobbies are social and some are not, but taking up a hobby that requires more active lifestyle can be beneficial for both your health and your psyche. Take into consideration the new chapter in life you are in now, and start thinking of the way you can improve it and make it even more exciting. Let this be a period of new beginnings. If you’re still struggling for ideas. here are some we can help you with.
- Choir Lessons
- Painting classes
If you want to only work on your social skills, you can also go to a meet-up specifically geared around making friends, or join on a club just so you can meet new people. Our warmest recommendation goes to some sort of amalgamation of the two. By working on making friends, why not work on yourself at the same time. Don’t be reluctant to stretch yourself. You may not have any social hobbies now, but that doesn’t mean you never will, or that there aren’t a some out there that you would like and just don’t know it yet. You’re very likely to pick up new interests throughout your whole life. Take the opportunity to try out some new ones, and meet great people along the way.
Don’t Be Dismissive: Whether we like this or not, we tend to be very judgemental of people upon first meeting them. You can try to relax your standards a little bit, and try to get friendly with people who are of different backgrounds, ages and genders. Don’t be too quick to dismiss someone who’s older/younger or with different preferences because they don’t fit what you imagined your social circle would look like. You can surprise yourself with becoming friends with someone of different social or cultural background or someone who comes from an area with values you’re not used to. Look at everyone on a case-by-case basis.