If you’re like me, the thought of moving abroad and having to start all over can be daunting. You’re giving up your job, home, and way of life. On top of that, you’re giving up having your familiar friends in close proximity. That certainly doesn’t mean those old friendships will end. It DOES mean that you’ll find yourself trying to make friends abroad in your new country.
Moving overseas can be quite lonely at first. It is definitely important to get out there and start making friends fast. Once you start connecting with others in your community, you’ll learn more about your new country and gain valuable insights to help your transition. As someone who is used to having the support of strong friendships, I started trying to meet people the first week we arrived in the Netherlands. Here are six ways I’ve been able to meet new friends since moving abroad!
1. Bumble BFF
This guy is at the top of my list because this is the one that has fruited the most genuine friendships so far! Bumble is typically used as a dating app but also conveniently has a section for women who are seeking new platonic friendships! The friendship section basically works exactly the same as the dating side, where you create a profile and match with others who you think you might have something in common with.
Though all connections made don’t necessarily equal a new best friend, I’d recommend giving this one a shot and some patience. Check back in periodically to see if there are any new gals in your area, and put a bit of time into chatting with connections you’ve made. If it’s a good fit, one of you will typically suggest a meetup and things will grow organically from there! I’ve made several of my favorite new friends by using this app!
Meetup is also a great way of meeting people! It groups people together by interests, and there are groups for everything from adult sports clubs to expat communities to language groups to cooking classes. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with others that share common interests, which is essential for cultivating new friendships.
Once you’ve signed up and joined a couple of groups, you’ll start receiving emails and notifications about events that are coming up within those groups. If you don’t find quite what you’re looking for, you can even start your own group!
3. Facebook Groups
I’m not a huge Facebook user personally so this one was actually a bit new to me before moving abroad. I knew that they existed but I never knew just how dang useful these groups can really be! Just like Meetup, Facebook has groups for EVERYTHING! Once you move abroad, simply search for relevant groups within your new community.
I would recommend searching for expat groups to start, then broadening your search for more specific interests. Look for groups that match your needs, have a good amount of recent activity, and have a fair amount of active members. This will get you the most out of your experience.
Not all Facebook groups are created equal though. You may find certain groups you join are not a good fit for you. That’s ok! What I love about Facebook groups is that they give you the opportunity to immediately start connecting with others. Depending on the specific group, you can attend events, host events, ask questions, network, etc.
4. Through your Job
Meeting people through your job is one of the top ways for adults to make new friends! If you’ll be looking for a new job once you move abroad, try finding a company that encourages camaraderie between employees via private events and after work happy hours. You may also consider looking for companies that have expat employees already. You’ll have a better chance of meeting others who are going through the same experiences as you.
If you’re not working but your partner is, don’t be afraid to tag along to happy hours and events. It is not uncommon for people to accompany their other half to certain work events, and you may end up clicking with someone there!
5. Put Yourself Out There
This is honestly one of the very most important things on the list! Making friends in a new city is NEVER easy if you don’t put yourself out there. In fact, making friends as an adult can be quite difficult. Adults have so much going on in their day-to-day lives and likely already have their friend groups established. Finding people to connect with will definitely take work on your part and you cannot expect new friends to magically fall in your lap. Be proactive! Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with strangers, attend events where you know no-one, or ask people out for coffee. If you’re finding friends through any of the channels listed above, chances are, the people you meet are in the EXACT same boat as you.
6. Don’t Get Discouraged
Like I said, making new friends isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth it! If you stay persistent and proactive you’ll eventually find others that you click with. Be open-minded and view every new connection as a possible new friendship. Realize that certain people who you meet might not become your new best friend and that’s ok. Every connection made abroad is valuable in its own way. Take advantage of these connections and don’t give up! The more you put yourself out there, the better friendships you’ll find! In my experience, people are incredibly welcoming to expats and there are so many other people just waiting to connect. Don’t be shy, just get out there!
Hopefully these tips will help you when trying to find new friends during your journey abroad. If you have specific questions or want more information, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. Subscribe to my blog for more information on life abroad and see what I’ve learned since moving abroad here.