Monday 28th September 2009

Six ways to meet new people when you first move overseas

Relocating to a new city far away from your friends and family can be a stressful and daunting experience. The sooner you are able to meet like-minded people and form new friendships, the quicker you will be able to settle in to your new life abroad. Luckily there are multiple ways in which you can meet fellow expats and, although forming new networks will undoubtedly take time and effort, the rewards will be well worth the investment. The Expat Info Desk has compiled a list of popular activities that allow expats to meet people and make new friends.

Professional Networks and Associations

Professional Associations are available in major cities throughout the world and they offer people an opportunity to become acquainted with people within their own professional circle whilst also providing a means by which they can develop and learn. Such associations can be especially used for the Trailing Spouse, who may have had a successful career in their own country but who is now searching for new opportunities now they have relocated. Joining a professional network will both demonstrate your commitment to your career as well as offering an opportunity to meet with people whom you may be interested in socializing with outside of the professional arena. To find out what professional networks and associations are available within your expat destination please see our city guides, which contain a full listing of associations together with contact details and meeting schedules.

Sports and hobbies

Participating in an organized sport or hobby is a great way to meet people who have similar interests to you. Many sports and hobby clubs encourage new members from all backgrounds and abilities. Through joining a local sports club you can have an opportunity to try something completely different whilst improving your fitness and your social network. There is no end to the activities on offer in many expat destinations from yoga, dancing, mountain climbing and crafts through to football, chess and book reading clubs, there’s always going to be something that suits you. For a comprehensive list of activities that take place in your expat destination please see our city guides.

Pubs, clubs and bars

Popular expat hangouts can be found in destinations throughout the world and hitting the bars can be an ideal way to meet people. Sit at the bar enjoying a drink and it won’t be long until conversation starts with the locals. Attending organized activities such as pub quizzes, karaoke nights and racing night can also offer you an opportunity to mix with fellow expats and there will be no shortage of expats who will happy to strike up conversation and meet new friends. See the local newspapers for details of events that or being held in bars in your area or browse online expat forums.

Voluntary work

Completing voluntary work for charities is a further ideal method of meeting new people whilst contributing to a good cause. There are always large numbers of charities that are looking for volunteers and you can get involved in a wide range of different activities from feeding stray animals through to teaching underpriviledged children. For a full list and contact information of charities in your expat destination, please see our individual city guides. You should also consult the visa section as, in many countries, you may be required to have an appropriate visa in order to complete any type of voluntary work.

Language exchanges

If you move to a country that has a different language than your native tongue, participating in language exchanges can offer an ideal opportunity to meet new people whilst also learning the local language. There are always large numbers of people who are looking to learn a new language and will be happy to teach their own language in return. Many of the online expat forums contain details of language exchanges and you can often also find advertisements in the local newspapers.

Social network groups

Many of the online forums contain social network groups that anyone is free to join. There is also an online resource called Meetup, which allows you to search for events in your local area. Within these groups you will find people who are looking to meet people and make new friends. The online forums often organize meet and greet nights at popular venues throughout the expat cities and these offer an ideal opportunity for you to mix with people who are looking to increase their social circle. The added advantage of such organized evenings is that they can help you to become familiar with the new city in which you are living.

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