You’ve got a friend – Making friends as an expat

Making expat friendsOne of the worries that faces people preparing to make the transition abroad, aside from language barriers and culture shock, is how to make new friends.  Leaving behind a trusted group of confidants that may have been years in the making is a tough wrench.  They provide everything, from laughter to a shoulder to cry on – and let’s be honest – how easy is it to find that again?Many expat websites and forums encourage you to go native, extolling the advantages of befriending locals, but how realistic is such a task?  Of course it would be great to have native friends that can help you settle in, find the best bars and help with the language. But unfortunately, few expats make friends with the locals immediately.

It’s fair to say that you make friends with people who you have something in common with.  What’s more bonding than being a foreigner living in a different culture?  It’s for this reason that expats make friends with fellow expats, to share stories and exchange advice on how to settle into your new surroundings.  There are many expat associations, clubs and activities that encourage this type of friendship.  This doesn’t have to mean that you’re suddenly living in a British/American/insert your nationality enclave.  Expats can be from any country, so you can easily find yourself surrounded by an international pool of potential friends.

So don’t feel bad about being in an ‘expat bubble’ and socialising with an expat group.  As you progress with the language and if you are staying for more than a few months you will naturally form relationships with the people around you.  Who knows, you might find yourself an international circle of friends who open up different cultures and opportunities you never knew existed.

Image credit: phototstock

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me encanta la familia, que seria sin ellas la armonia y el equilibrio de sus componentes.un saludo

You make some great points. I think it depends on the country you are in and what your job is for how easily you can make ‘local’ friends. I had a fair few in Japan but have hardly any here in Korea.