Knowing a few people in your new host destination can be a big advantage. It is especially important if you are moving abroad as a first-time expat. Making expat friends with fellow expats from your home country is a great way to settle in a foreign country with a completely new culture and environment. The best part is that you will feel at home abroad when you have expat friends. This is vital for your mental health too.
Life in a foreign location comes with many challenges too. The obstacles for most expats include adjusting to an unfamiliar culture, different language, new people, and different climatic conditions. Additionally, you will need people around to socialize and talk to, else that feeling of loneliness will creep in. So, there are numerous advantages to building friendships during your stay abroad. You just have to be more willing to mingle with people around and make friends.
Reasons why you should consider making expat friends
Here are the top five reasons why you should consider making expat friends as you start settling in a faraway destination:
1. Friends will Assist You in Adjusting to a New Life
You may be an avid traveler exploring the world; however, settling in a foreign country is altogether a different ball game. Even if you are moving to a country that has a culture that is similar to your native place, there would be some areas where you will have to make certain adjustments. You may need guidance while finalizing an international health insurance plan, or maybe while filing taxes. This is where your new expat friends can help you out. Your daily experiences can be less confusing and less intimidating if you have someone to assist you and guide you through the initial days.
2. Being a Loner is not Ideal for Expat Living
It is common for expats to experience culture shock, especially if they decide to spend their expatriate days in an unfamiliar place abroad. This is a serious phenomenon that can affect your mental health. Friends can act as the perfect support network for sharing these issues and getting adequate advice to deal with them. Remember, even after staying in a foreign location for decades, some expats find it difficult to adjust to the culture.
These mundane situations can make you feel lonely and miserable. So, meet as many people as possible try for making expat friends along with the locals too. This will make it easy for you to work or study in your chosen expat destination.
3. Friendships can Help Boost Mental Health
Isolation or loneliness can adversely affect your mental health, especially in a place where you have no friends. Don’t let that feeling of depression bog you down. Instead, try connecting with fellow expats and local people. Through healthy friendships, you can boost your mental health. You will need friends to support you emotionally during your initial days abroad. They will surely assist you in living through this weird and uncomfortable phase.
The personal or professional hurdles you face and then overcome will make you a stronger person eventually. We realize this is difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as long as you can be social with your local and expatriate friends in a safe way, try spending maximum time with friends after a rough day at work. You will feel better.
4. Friends become Family when You Stay Overseas
It takes a big heart and a strong will to leave behind all the good things in life. However, expat living is also about making sacrifices. Leaving your native home behind would mean that you are losing out on the immediate support that you are so used to. With time, you will realize that your close friends in your host country turn out to be the strongest support system.
They fill the void that was created when you left your homeland. It is not that the new expat friends become more important than your family or relatives back home. It is a fact that you will gradually learn to adapt to the new realities of life as an expat.
5. Get Vital Tips and Guidance
Your expat friends abroad can give you vital tips to stay away from trouble or deal with various issues associated with international living. They will guide you and share unique ideas even if you don’t ask them for help. Simple tips for travel, studies, or even shopping can make your life much easier in a foreign city.