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How to make friends when you’ve moved abroad

Finding people to hang out with in a new destination can seem daunting, but will be made much easier with these tips

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Social media and new technology have improved the temptation for expats to stay in touch with old friends when they move abroad, but it's much better to put one's efforts into forging new friendships
Social media and new technology have improved the temptation for expats to stay in touch with old friends when they move abroad, but it's much better to put one's efforts into forging new friendships 

Making friends can be a fairly scary prospect, even for the most confident of us – and doing it in a foreign country can be downright terrifying!

And while it’s incredibly easy to keep in touch with your old pals and family back home thanks to social networks and other new technology, finding likeminded souls is one of the most important parts of your transition to your new home – and one of the things that can make you feel settled much quicker.

To help you on your way, here are OverseasGuidesCompany.com’s top tips for making friends locally:

Research expat groups before you go
There are likely to be many for all nationalities across your new home, and all will welcome new members for numerous activities across the year.

Dive in!
Once you have accepted that your life is going to be different, it’s really important to get started as soon as you can. The best places to start are with your neighbours, your new colleagues and parents of your children’s school friends. Introduce yourself and show willing! Think of questions to ask in advance and show an interest. Try and arrange meetings over a local delicacy, or invite them over for a real English cup of tea.

Speak the language (if relevant)
If you are moving to a country where the first language is foreign to you, it’s a very good idea to start thinking about learning the basics as soon as you can. You will find this makes it much easier to make friends with the locals – especially in certain locations where English is not readily spoken. You will be surprised by how understanding and welcoming the locals will be when they hear you at least attempting to converse in their first language.

Research groups of interest
Think about your hobbies and those of your family and research online for groups or places where you can take part. There will often be numerous sports clubs throughout the year, no matter what your interests are.

Visit places with bulletin boards
Your local library may have a board of all local activities, or you may have something at your place of work. There may well be online resources that you can tap into as well.

Join a gym, a religious establishment
…or anything that meets your individual needs, where you can meet like-minded people. Are there any skills you have always wanted to learn? Look into classes at a local college or university.

Get out into your community
You can become a regular at your local library, coffee shop or park. Volunteer for an organisation you are interested in to meet likeminded people.

Words by Overseas Guides Company.com, publishers of buying guides in over 15 countries, 0207 898 0549.

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