8 tips to meet new people abroad
Travelling: the only thing that costs money but actually makes you richer, isn’t it? The adventures you have, the memories you make and you meet new people. When you decide to travel on your own, either for personal purposes or educational ones, you end up at a city you don’t know. You probably don’t know anyone there and you don’t want to lock yourself up. Get the most out of your stay abroad, go out and meet new people. Sounds easier as it is… Get out of your comfort zone and be open-minded. To help you make a good start we have some tips for you. To start off just remember that: “Good things happen when you meet strangers”.
1. Take a language course
Speaking the language of the country you are traveling to will make it easier to meet new people. It therefore might be a good idea to take a language course. Don’t expect to be a fluent speaker afterwards. The language course just can help you getting started and teach you how to greet people and how to express yourself. Besides that, most people following a language course travel alone with the purpose to learn quickly but also to meet new people. I am sure you find someone with the same interests who wants to have a drink with you after class.
2. Invest in your hobbies
Do you love art? Do you have a passion for cooking? Is your favourite activity playing sports? Perfect! There unquestionably are courses or organizations where you can undertake your hobby. Whatever course you choose, you won’t be doing it alone. Make friends while doing what you love abroad.
3. Live with locals
I believe that locals can be the door to discovering a country, its culture and meeting new people. Locals live in the country or city for already a long time and consequently have a wide social network. You might build a relationship with your host and maybe he or she can introduce you to others. Additionally they can give you travel tips to places often yet undiscovered by the “ordinary tourist”. You can find families who offer a room in their house at different online channels like Airbnb or CouchSurfing.
If you do not want to sleep and live with locals, but still want to meet them there is the possibility to eat with locals. The websites EatWith and BookaLokal offer people from all over the world a seat at their dinner for just a little fee.
4. Help others, volunteer!
Every organization can use volunteers! Whether it is giving information sessions or help taking care of the children in an orphan home, it is the perfect way to meet new people and to find out your passion. Next to that, the happy faces of those you helped will provide you a satisfied and fulfilled feeling.
5. Join organized activities
All cities organize activities. From a tour through the city to a boat trip to see the dolphins, there is something for everybody. You’re abroad so the chances are high you want to see something of the country and city you are staying. Organized activities give you the perfect opportunity to do so. Such activities are always in groups and thus enough people to chat and bond with. Maybe after the organized activity you go out for some drinks or dinner at that nice little restaurant you saw during the tour. Or even a better scenario: you go discovering more places together!
6. Become a regular customer
This of course only works if you stay for a longer period of time in another country, but it is a really effective one. You do not want to sit all day in a room by yourself, go out! If you go to the same bar over and over again the people there will start to recognize you. Bartenders and waitresses are used to make a talk and introduce people. In this way you always have a little chat and maybe it can grow to a friendship.
7. Find social groups online
Remember, you are not the only one looking for new contacts. There are many organizations, mostly online, who offer you a hand. Go online and search for organizations that organize monthly or weekly meetings to chat with other and expand your social network. MeetUp is a very popular and frequently used platform. Also different Facebook groups and CouchSurfing can help you enormously.
If you are a student studying abroad for a longer period you should check the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). This is a network made special for students and located in almost every big city of Europe. Become a member, meet new people and join cultural activities.
8. Go to a language exchange
A language exchange is another possibility which gives you a win-win situation, namely learning the language and meeting new and interesting people. Almost every big city organizes weekly or monthly language exchanges and it is liked by many. During a language exchange you literally exchange languages by talking with someone who talks the languages you want to learn. Prepare yourself for some great conversations and meeting other inspiring people.