5 ways of making friends abroad that you may not have considered

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Making friends while working abroad is an important part of settling in to your new home. Having a good social network is likely to result in a more successful move. But how to go about it?

By Allianz Partners, International Health | March 13, 2018

Allianz Care - expat friends

We covered some of the more conventional ways to make friends abroad previously. In this post, we are thinking of ways a little outside the box to meet new people abroad:

Friends of friends

It may be best to try this before you leave for an assignment. As you are 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.

Events

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.

Dating sites

InterNations Expat Insider survey 2017 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.

Volunteering

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) programme that you can take part in.

Religion

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 as well as making friends. Many religions have social events linked to practice including shared meals or celebrating events together.

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.

Don’t neglect your physical health when you make a move overseas, protect yourself and get the best treatment possible in the event of an accident with comprehensive international health insurance.