It is a fact that international students are some of the most fun, open-minded and interesting people that you can meet when studying or travelling abroad. It may seem daunting at first to try and make friends when you arrive in a new country, especially if you have never been there before, or are travelling alone. But fear not! There are plenty of sure-fire ways to make new acquaintances.
Every campus that I’ve been to has had some sort of organization for international students to get together and meet each other. They run a variety of events and socials, and this is a great chance to meet others who are in the same boat as you. You might find a friend here who is willing to tag along to other places with you, too!
It’s important to get to know the locals, as well. If there’s a club day on campus, go check it out and find a group that is involved in a hobby you enjoy. You’ll already have something in common, and they expect that new members won’t know anybody when starting out!
It might be too difficult to get a part-time job while studying abroad, or maybe your visa doesn’t allow it. But you can always get involved in volunteer experiences, both around campus and in the city. Check local message boards and ask around to see who needs volunteers. A great way to meet like-minded people.
I met some of my favourite friends abroad through couchsurfing.com, and other travellers I know found roommates through it, too! People who are passing through the area love to meet up for drinks or socializing, particularly on the weekends. Check out what locals are registered as interested in meeting up, and look and see if there are any meet-ups planned for the region. Everyone I’ve met through this has been really free-spirited and fun.
Going off on your own might be scary if you don’t know anybody right away. But don’t worry about it — friends come naturally as you start establishing a new routine. Roommates, classmates, and neighbours are all around and eventually work their way into your life. Being social isn’t easy for everyone, but taking a relaxed approach to it makes it much easier. Have fun and don’t take things too seriously. But don’t forget to do your schoolwork!