Studying abroad gives you plenty of opportunities to make friends, and it’s all an exciting part of the overall experience! Some of you may find it easy to talk to strangers and have an active social life, but others may find it confusing and feel overwhelmed having to make new friends. Here’s how you can go about it!
Most colleges organize an Orientation Day that helps freshers to get acquainted with the lay of the land. You can get to meet others in your group on this day-all you need to spark off a conversation is to smile at them and go out of your way to say hello! Chances are, if you have chosen a program that genuinely interests you, you will find that there are many in your class who can relate to you easily. You can easily start a conversation around your background and interests, share insights about study abroad opportunities and past experiences and take it from there!
Sign up for some extracurricular activities
Like to throw a ball around court? Dance? Is theatre your forte? Start with any hobbies or interests you already have, and sign up for some groups on campus. It’s easier to connect with others who share a common passion with you already. Not only will you get to indulge in your favourite activity, you can meet others who may be outside your study circles. Shared activities create lasting bonds. Step outside your comfort zone and try out new activities that you haven’t yet had the chance to try out. Embrace the moment and you can build deep connections that last!
If you have a bit of extra time on your hands, do get involved with some volunteer programs in your area. Try to find something that is related to your area of study, if possible….for example, if you are studying Aged Care, you could volunteer at an Old Age Home. Not only will this help you meet new people, it will also look good on your resume and can open up channels for future employment!
Get on social media
Chances are that you are already part of a student WhatsApp group, or have friends on Facebook who are studying with you. Connect with friends of friends who may be studying in your new college, ask around and get introductions. That is, quite literally, what social networking means! Your college must be having a Facebook page- join it and get to know what’s happening in and around the campus or city.
Explore the city
Don’t sit around doing nothing at home. Check out local sightseeing trips, and explore the city. You could go for a movie, or grab a coffee at a local coffee bar. Eat out, talk to people….sitting at home watching TV is definitely not the way to make friends! Visit a museum or an art gallery. Take a walk in the local park. You can make friends anywhere.
Having said all this, a word of caution during your study abroad. You must take care to choose your friends wisely, and keep total strangers at arm’s length till you get to know them better!