I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.

James Baldwin

Dear Clever Expat,

One of the most persistent worries about moving abroad is anxiety about making new friends. It’s hard to feel comfortable in a new country without making social connections. In my own travels, I’ve been able to make friends and connect with others in many different ways, and you can, too!

Finding your tribe—your people—abroad is a bit of a treasure hunt. With technology, though, the process can be much easier and efficient. And when you meet other expats, you will be connecting with people who have a significant thing in common with you: living abroad. It’s a great starting point for building new friendships.

So how do you make new friends in your new home? It’s not as hard as you might think. You may also discover that others are just as ready to make new connections as you are! Here are some methods that I have used to make new friends abroad:

  • Language school classmates. If you are taking a language school course, there may be “extracurricular” events that you can attend, as well as people in your class that are new to your area.
  • Expat groups. Whether you find them through Meetup.com, Facebook groups, Internations.org, or TripAdvisor.com, there are so many expats around the world that you can often meet others who have embarked on their adventure nearby.
  • Cultural centers. In larger cities, there might be cultural spaces dedicated to connect expats. It may take some searching to find these spaces, but you may also find some great information about the city and it’s expat population along the way!
  • Online forums, blogs, and social media channels. I always recommend using these “discovery” methods before, during, and after your move. You may find that you can contribute your experiences to help others.
  • Interest groups. I recommend Meetup.com for this! Finding “your people” may be difficult in an expat group. If you are interested in meeting people with your similar interests, then check out this site. Whether it’s hiking nearby trails, taking painting classes, visiting new restaurants and bars, or even taking a historical tour or two, you can find some welcoming faces and maybe some new friends.

Many of these suggestions can be researched before you leave the US! Join online groups and make connections with others. Remember, making new friends is a time-consuming process. Building new community and connections often reflects the efforts you invest.

Whether it’s deciphering a confusing menu or dealing with a culture shock moment, having a network to rely on can be incredibly comforting. Sharing laughter, frustrations, and triumphs with your fellow expats and new friends can make your journey all the more rewarding.

You’ll definitely find that making friends and learning about culture differs around the world. While you will have to figure out your own plan for your own finances, check out this book from the Clever Expat Bookshelf. Once you read it, you’ll be MUCH more prepared to make the healthcare decisions necessary for a successful expat experience!

Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships

by Kira Asatryan

Description (from publisher): Loneliness isn’t something that happens only when we are physically alone. It can also happen when we are with people. Online friends, followers, or “likers” don’t necessarily add up to much when you crave fulfilling interaction, and satisfying, long-term relationships are not a mystery to be left up to chance (or technology). The good news is that, according to relationship coach Kira Asatryan, loneliness has a reliable antidote: the feeling of closeness. We can and should cultivate closeness in our relationships using the steps outlined in this book: knowing, caring, and mastering closeness.
Formats: SoftcoverKindle

Keep exploring!

The Clever Expat

The Clever Expat guide to getting settled in your new home abroad

Arriving in a new country as an expat marks an exciting chapter in your life. While the initial excitement is palpable, adapting to a new culture, navigating unfamiliar customs, and building a social circle can pose challenges. This comprehensive course equips you with the strategies and resources to successfully integrate into your new home as an expat, fostering meaningful connections and thriving in your adopted community. 

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