It is often the people in a place we’ve been, more than the place itself, which we remember when we’re reflecting on the past. But how will you have time to make friends, you ask? If thinking that there are so many other things to do, and learn how to do, in a country you’ve never lived in, you’re right. Be that as it may, you’ll find that making new friends and strong bonds with people you didn’t know even a month ago will be far easier than you think.
Often overlooked as a key element to making new friends in a new country is the ability within yourself dedicate time and effort to this exciting experience you are embarking on. You have to open yourself to all possibilities, circumstances and situations, and you must take them all in strides. It’s easy for individuals to shrink back into what’s comfortable and known, to hide in our apartments on our laptops using social media to contact friends and family back home. However, while maintaining those old relationships is very important, it’s equally as important to force yourself out of your comfort zone in order to create new relationships in your new country of residence.
The university you will be attending is a great resource for finding likeminded people. Every university has countless clubs, student organizations, extracurricular activities, intramural sports teams and volunteer opportunities – all of which are great ways to make new friends. If you enjoy doing DIY projects, like creating new home decorations from ideas you’ve gotten off Pintrest, most campuses have an arts and crafts center that sponsors free crafting nights (or gives heavily discounted prices to students), as well as have volunteer opportunities in running the center or leading a community art class.
No matter what you are interested in, be it bowling or comic books, electronic music or longboarding, there will most certainly be people who share that interest on your host university’s campus. And if there isn’t a club or organization for it already, you and your new friends should create one together!
Making new friends in a new country isn’t a tried-and-true recipe. You may need to push yourself to be more outgoing than you would normally be at home, like trying a new activity that you’ve always wanted to do but have previously let your fear get in the way.