Guide to Making Friends Abroad

When moving to abroad or to a new city, one of the easiest ways to feel at home or like you belong is to make friends–but this can also be one of the most difficult things, especially if you’re not a student.

It’s been well documented that making friends as an adult can be incredibly hard, but add in challenges like a new language, a new culture and new customs and it can be downright overwhelming.

In order to learn more, I reached out to the Girls vs. Globe community to share their tips, tricks and wisdom for making friends in a new city or new country. Here’s what they had to say: 

Jennifer of Discovering Legacies

Meetup.com

On Meetup.com, you can find groups for literally any interest of yours. Just type in a hobby of yours or something you’ve always wanted to learn (photography or a language, for example), and a distance, and you will find events with like-minded people whether it’s for networking during happy hour, a night hike, yoga, or going to clubs. Don’t be shy; there will be a lot of first-timers.

The Beach

Go to the beach! When in Santa Monica (outside of LA, where Jennifer currently resides), join people playing beach volleyball, ask if you can try to balance on their slacklines, or get acrobatic on the rings. When in Venice Beach, talk to vendors, join the basketball players, show off at the famous Muscle Beach outside gym, or just watch people. You’ll be making friends before you know it!

Megan of Half this world away

I have lived in a few different countries so  making new friends is something I have had to do so many times!
For meeting people then I always use Meetup.com which i think is great.
I also think when you move to a new country then you just really need to put yourself out there and not be afraid to meet new people. It can be intimidating at first but the more you do it the easier it gets. Most countries also tend to have “expat” bars, like Irish bars, which is a really easy place to meet other expats–but it means you probably won’t meet many locals!

Nikoleta of The Bonfire Dream

Making friends while travelling is easy. Why? I believe that the main reason is that you are relaxed and so it is easier for you to approach people and to be approached. Yet there are still things that you can do to make making friends even easier. For example joining free tours which are generally full of young, energetic single travellers; or going on pub crawls, which were basically invented for solo-travellers 😛

But most importantly, smile. You can never know where simple smile might bring you!

My Advice

Meeting new people and making friends has been one of the areas I’ve had to put the most effort since we moved to Madrid. One of the best pieces of advice I read was to chase your passions, not people, a version “if you build it they will come” but for friendship. By seeking out groups that interest me (found either via Meetup.com or Facebook) I’ve been able to meet people with similar hobbies or experiences. Whether it’s attending an intercambio, an expat meet-up or taking in a yoga class, it’s so much easier to strike up a conversation with someone when you know you already have at least one thing in common.

Yes, putting yourself out there can be hard and scary, but it really can be so rewarding!

Looking for more ways to meet new people – either at home or abroad – check out these resources that i found particularly inspiring and/or useful:

Do you have experience making friends in a new city or country? What tips would you share?


PA-MakingFriendsAbroad-Pinterest

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.

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4 thoughts on “Guide to Making Friends Abroad

  1. Matt Wilson says:

    Hostel life is great, but if you are looking for nicer accommodations but traveling solo, it becomes difficult to meet people! My first trip to Iceland turned into a full blown passion for meeting people abroad 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine says:

    I think I remember seeing the thread about this post on the Girl Vs. Globe group! There is some great advice here, but I love the phrase you used: chase passions, not people. Even in my city after college, I started to follow that advice and it 100% changed the people that I was around. For the better! So cheers to that!

    Liked by 1 person

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