Want To Make Friends Abroad? Here Are 5 Approaches To Try
This is a sponsored post by Allianz Care. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience.
One of the questions I get the most about living in Spain is how I was able to make friends. When you’re in a completely new environment, it can be daunting to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself. But making friends while working or living abroad is such an important part of settling into your new home. Developing a good social network will make your experience easier and more enjoyable. But how to go about it?
That’s why I’ve partnered with Allianz Care to bring you these ideas to meet new people abroad. I’m going to break down 5 ways to make friends abroad.
Friends of friends
It may be best to try this approach before you move abroad. As you’re telling family and friends about your plans, ask if they know anyone in your destination city. If they do, ask to be put in touch with them. While it may or may not work out in the longer term, it can be a good way to meet a friendly face when you first arrive in your new home. A family friend can help you get accustomed to your new home during your first weeks and also introduce you to their own friends.
Love abstract art? Jazz music? Slam poetry? Use websites like Eventbrite to find arts, community or charity events happening in your city. The more niche the event, the more likely it is that you can speak to others on a common topic, which should help break the ice. There are also lots of Facebook groups created by expats in specific cities. Browse those and you’ll find all sorts of events, from language exchanges to trivia nights. These are not only a lot of fun but give you an opportunity to make friends with people from around the world.
A 2017 expat survey by InterNations Expat Insider showed that more than half of all respondents in relationships were involved with someone from another country. If you are single, consider checking out the local dating scene in your new country. Dating apps are an obvious starting point but if that feels too intense try attending singles events in your area. There’s no guarantee that you’ll meet the love of your life, you could make some good friends along the way.
If you do find yourself with some time on your hands, consider helping others by volunteering in an area of interest. It could be related to your job or a hobby. Volunteering is a great way to meet people from the local community. It may also be worth checking if your employer has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that you can take part in.
When I lived in Madrid, I volunteered at an organization called AfroAid España, teaching English to immigrants in the city. Through volunteering, I became friends with the other teachers as well as some of the students. I still keep in touch with them today. I believe volunteering can not only help you give back to the community but also create life-long connections.
Last but by no means least, if you practice a religion, joining a local church, synagogue, mosque or temple may be a great way to meet local people of the same faith and make new friends. Many religions have social events linked to practice, including shared meals or celebrations.
Making friends abroad is one way of looking after your mental health while you are abroad. Building a local support network should help to make living abroad a fantastic experience both in terms of your career and personal life.
Another important thing to take care of abroad is your physical health. You can’t neglect that! When you make a move overseas, protect yourself and get the best treatment possible in the event of an accident with comprehensive international expat health insurance from Allianz Care. I’ve been using Allianz’s services for years and love how professional they are and how straightforward it is to select a plan that suits your needs.
Have you ever lived abroad? How did you make friends? Share your comment below.
One more thing: if you liked this post, please share it!