10 Tips for Living Abroad Alone and Ways to Meet New People
A new term has emerged for single expats who move abroad alone and they are often referred to as Generation Expat or Genxpat. Such groups are generally typified by young, single, internationally mobile professionals who have an opportunity to relocate with work.
Have a Strategy for Meeting People and Set Goals
Fortunately, you can jumpstart your social life abroad before moving by researching ways to get involved in your new city. Learn as much as you can about your destination city. Consider participating in expat forums or speaking with individuals who have lived in the city you will be traveling to. In order to make friends and meet people, consider these 10 ways to make your transition smoother.
1. Find an online community. There are many locally based communities, where you can meet other expats and locals. Join a club, group, or organization. Just like at home, there are organizations based around common interests wherever you go. Whether you like bicycling, photography, cooking, or just about anything else, joining others with your shared interest is a great starting point to making friends. Resources that offer the opportunity to connect with other expats include:
- www.expatforum.com is on online source with articles designed to inform expats about their new land, and forums where you can communicate with fellow expats.
- InterNations.org (www.internations.org) can connect you with fellow expats, and tell you about events, in nearly 400 cities around the world.
- Meetup (www.meetup.com) isn’t exclusive for expats, but it allows people to find, and set up, meeting groups around the world.
2. Volunteering is another great way to meet people. It can help you make a difference, and meet people who care about the same things as you. You can find volunteer opportunities at www.crossculturalsolutions.org; www.volunteerhq.org; and www.unitedplanet.org.
3. The Foodie craze is another avenue for meeting people. Taking a cooking class has multiple benefits, including providing an opportunity to meet people. It also offers a hands-on experience with the culture of the country you’re living in as well as providing an opportunity to cook delicious meals for yourself.
- Parla Food blog (www.parlafood.com) is devoted to food in Rome.
- The Kinfolk magazine (www.kinfolk,com) is filled with travel stories pertaining to the artisanal craze.
- The Road and Kingdoms website (www.roadsandkingdoms.com) offers information about lesser-known locations, traditions, food and events in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
4. Participate in professional associations. If you belong to a chapter of a professional association at home, there may be a chapter in your new residence.
- BPW Europe (www.bpw-europe.org) is an organization for business and professional women.
- Professional Women’s Network (www.pwnglobal.net)
- The European Management Association (www.europeanmanagement.org) is a pan-European association that brings management professionals together.
- It’s only natural that you’ll want to date, and the opportunities for meeting people in a foreign country are pretty much the same as home. There are likely singles groups, book clubs, nightlife spots, and plenty of other places where you can meet people.
5. Online dating, of course, is a huge part of today’s dating world including some European dating websites catered to expats below:
- European Match.com: The iconic Match website has a European version.
- Expatica: The expats website has a page, with links to dating sites through the world
- Expat Specific Dating Websites:
- France: (www.expatdatingfrance.com)
There are even specialized sites. For example, if you’re a vegetarian moving to the UK, you can find someone who shares the same interests at www.datingvegetarian.co.uk.
6. Get a pet. Anyone who has a dog or a cat will tell you that if you adopt an animal, you’ll have a friend for life. Coming home to a pet that is happy to see you will surely put a smile on your face after a tough day. Before getting a pet, be sure to get used to your new city, job, and schedule. Do research into how pet-friendly your community is, or even if you’re allowed to have a pet in your home. Global Animal (www.globalanimal.org) offers information about pets for adoption throughout the world.
7. Get a language tutor. This will give you an opportunity to become friends with your tutor and be introduced to others. You can also learn a language online from Rosetta Stone (www.rosettastone.com); and DuoLingo (www.duolingo.com). But to meet people, you need to take a class. Look into learning centers, local schools, and libraries as sources for classes. Polyglotclub (www.polyglotclub.com) is a great resource for finding language classes. Also learning a new language is a great skill that can boost your career.
8. Explore the City. You will have to take the initiative in putting yourself out there. Make friends at work, and take the initiative in making social plans. Go to restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bookstores and make conversations with people. Don’t let opportunities to meet people slip through your hands.
Go see the famous sites of the city – museums, theaters, sporting venues, historic sites. When you’re looking at great work of art at the Louvre, or touring the Tower of London, there is bound to be lots to talk about.
9. Meet people through fitness. Staying in shape is always a great idea, but it also can help improve your social life. Signing up with a gym or joining a sports league or running club, for example, will help get you in shape, and improve your social life.
10. Learn a New Skill. Once you settle into your new home and job, you’re likely to have some spare time, since opportunities to socialize won’t be as bountiful as they are at home. Use that time to your advantage. Learn how to play an instrument, take an art class, learn how to scrapbook. These are ways to improve yourself, and to potentally meet people with whom you share a common interest.
Setting goals to make friends and meet people will push you to go out of your comfort zone and take the necessary steps to find new friends abroad. Make plans to go out every Friday or Saturday night, even if that means going out alone. There’s more of a chance of meeting people if you’re out than sitting at home. Join a club, go on a sightseeing tour, or take a class. .
Living abroad alone can be exciting, intimidating, stressful, and thrilling all at the same time. With the tips outlined above, you will be well-equipped to quickly jump into your life abroad by making new friends while keeping in touch with others back home.
After exploring your new home country and meeting people through different channels, you can go a step further and start picking out new areas to travel. Check out Clements’ picks for the best vacation destinations for expats to build on your world travels and meet more people.
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