Moving to a new city can be daunting. Not only do you have to adjust to a new way of life and a new routine, but you also don’t have that built in support system that comes with being at home. One of the easiest ways to make a new city more comfortable, is to meet locals and create a solid social network of your own. Below is a list of 7 of the best ways to find friends abroad – no matter where you are!
#1 Use Technology:
One of the newest and most popular ways to meet new people abroad is through technology. Technology provides an easy and quick way to get involved with locals. There are a ton of apps out there that solely exist for the purpose of helping people meet other people in new cities. Meetup.com, the ubumm app, Tinder, and internations.org are all great – there is something out there for everyone and they have a presence in nearly every city!
#2 Language Class:
Another easy way to meet people outside of your group is through a language class! Sit next to locals or other international students in language classes. Don’t stick to the same group you came in with – you never know who in the class has a ton of local connections! People tend to move to countries and cities where they already have a few connections, and befriending someone at the beginning of their time in that city is a good way to get in with their crowd.
Language exchanges are very popular in cities all over Europe, especially in countries where English isn’t the first language. This is an easy way to speak to lots of locals and work on your language skills at the same time!
#3 Join a Club:
For pretty much any hobby, there is a club for it in every major city around the world. Joining a club is a good way to get a feel for a city, and meet locals who share similar interests. Running clubs tend to be very popular and are a great introduction to local areas of the city. Another easy way to meet locals is to join an intramural team. This is a great way to add routine to your schedule, and to get to know a bunch of people at once. Intramural teams also tend to have social gatherings outside of game times so you’ll get another perspective on the city.
#4 Couch Surfing and Hostels:
When visiting a new city, opt for couch surfing or staying in a hostel. Couch surfing is a good way to get to know locals, who are usually more than willing to offer suggestions and insights into their city. Occasionally, you’ll even find someone who will invite you out with their friends, or who will give you a personalized tour of the city. Hostels are another great way to meet people - both locals and other travelers. Hostels normally will have notice boards with fun things going on around town as well as local staff who can give you insider tips about the city and the best places to go to see life like a local!
#5 Go Places Alone:
People are far more likely to approach you if you’re alone. Take a book and sit in an outdoor café, or go to a bar to watch a local sports game. People love to share their excitement and love for the home sports team with others, and if you show interest it’s an easy way to meet locals!
#6 Go out with Colleagues:
Any opportunities to attend extra-curricular events or anything that is slightly suggested – jump at the opportunity. Don’t hold back – show yourself to be a team player and that you want to be involved in the company. This will show your co-workers that you want to be involved and included, therefore making it more likely that they will ask you to join them for an activity. You can also initiate an office happy hour after your first week to say thanks for being so welcoming – and thus making friends!
#7 Local Hot Spots:
One of the most time tested ways of meeting locals when in a new place is to hang out where they hang out – local bars and pubs. Pick a couple local favorites near where you are staying, and go hang out there occasionally. People will start to recognize you and strike up conversations, plus it’s always nice to be able to go somewhere in a new city and recognize a few faces.
Basically, the main point of all of this, is to not shut yourself off or keep yourself at a distance while traveling. Dive into the city. Be a sponge! You will never regret making friends abroad but you may regret holding yourself back!