Being the new kid on the block already requires quite a bit of effort in order to make your new life feel like home. Now add in jetlag, language barriers, new currency/rules/regulations and oh yeah, not knowing anyone! At times, living abroad can be rough; but with the right people around you, you can get through anything and truly feel at home.
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If you’ve just moved, or are about to move, look for like-minded people in these places:
Whether you’re a studying or working abroad, your classmates and colleagues are potential new friends. If they’re from the host country, they will be excellent guides to help you understand local customs and social norms. If they’re also from abroad, then you’ll have an understanding ear to listen to you vent about your frustrations. Either way, it’s a win-win situation because you have a network of people who have at least one thing in common with you from the very start.
Often forgotten is making friends at alumni events…abroad! With student mobility on the rise, many cities outside of the US have active alumni chapters. For example, the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, my alma mater, has several, active chapters outside of the USA.
If you’re an exapt, or looking to meet expats in your area, start your search with online platforms such as InterNations, MeetUp and Facebook (just search “expats in (CITY)” or “(CITY) study abroad” ).
Registering with your country’s embassy abroad (and LIKE-ing their Facebook page) is great not only for safety purposes, but also because you may find yourself on the guestlist to special events and holiday parties at the embassy itself! I have met some really wonderful people from all over the world at embassy events here in Ankara and look forward to meeting other locals, expats and diplomats.
Something my husband and I do everywhere we live is look up the events calendars of all (yes all!) local universities. We enjoy meeting academics and students interested in our fields, so what better way than attending free events and lectures at local universities?
As a member of The Bahá’í Faith, I’m able to find Bahá’ís everywhere I move to. All I do is contact the country’s National Spiritual Assembly and ask them to put me in contact with local Bahá’ís. Without fail, I’ve been able to meet wonderful people everywhere I’ve lived. If you’re a member of a widespread religions (i.e., Christianity, Islam, etc.), you should be able to find members of your religion abroad.