Many exchange students and teens going abroad struggle with making friends, with various reasons. Today, we will talk about how to make friends abroad, which can be applied to regular students studying in High School, or even College, as well.
I studied abroad in the US in my junior year of High School, so I know what I’m talking about! Of course, I’d had my struggles too, but by the end, I had amazing friends, international and local. So here are my best tips on how to make friends abroad!
Need some inspiration? Check out 10 reasons to study abroad
Ready? Let’s get into it!
BE OPEN-MINDED AND OUTGOING
I know that is hard for introverts among us (past-me included), but for the sake of making friends: BE OPEN.
To meet new people you just need to force yourself to talk and start a conversation sometimes.
Especially if you study abroad in a school, people there already have their friend group and aren’t actively on the lookout to new friends. That’s why you need to make the first step and ask them something.
It doesn’t have to be anything thought out, you can simply ask something about the class or school. That can lead to conversation and new connections!
This one is the bridge between getting to know people and making actual friendships.
I know it can take some willpower to do that, but once you did it, it becomes easier from time to time. Just ask them for their Snapchat, Instagram, or their phone number.
If you feel more comfortable having a reason behind, you have a few options:
- send something about the class (BUT! do not become the person sending the correct answers to your mates! I repeat: do not be that person)
- if you talked about doing something together like studying or going to a game, you can use that to get their number as well
- to share something like a blog post, article, your YouTube video, etc with them
These are just a few ideas you could use as a reason to ask for someone’s contact information.
Be sure to talk with the person first before jumping into this though! We don’t wanna be weird, right?
BE ACTIVE IN SCHOOL
To get seen, all you have to do is sometimes add a few words in class. Imagine someone just sitting in the corner and never talking. Would you feel invited to talk to that person? Probably not, right?
So don’t be that person! Of course, we all have bad days where we don’t wanna talk to anyone. And that is okay. But if you NEVER say anything in class, it will be harder to find friends in there! (own experience…and I can tell you that it’s easy to fall into not saying a word..and getting out of there again is sooo much harder)
JOIN A SPORTS TEAM
Joining a sports team is an amazing way to find new friends and connections. Being in the same team, liking the same sport, and spending time together automatically gives you the opportunity to meet new people and connect to them on another level, every day.
When I was abroad in the US, I joined the CrossCountry and Track teams, and it was so cool how convenient it is to make friends abroad.
JOIN A CLUB
Just like joining a sports team, clubs are perfect ways to make friends abroad and in school. People in the same club usually have similar interests, at least regarding the topic of the club.
That means you have topics to talk about! So easy.
PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
My coordinator planned various activities for all her international students in the area. If you have a coordinator who offers activities as well, please join them!
It is so much fun meeting students from all over the world, and you might find someone from your country as well!
I love getting to know people from different cultures, and being friends with them has so many advantages. Not only new friendships but also the chance of traveling cheaper after your study abroad time because you can stay with friends!
Ok. Don’t misuse this, please. Strive for genuine friendships and you’ll find it.
Volunteering is not only a good way to improve your CV, but your social life as well. You can meet new people and make friends abroad by volunteering in a church, outdoors, in school, etc.
GO TO SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
If your school has any games, pep rallies, races, or other activities, join them!
You can either ask people in your class if they’re going or if they would like to come with you, or you can simply go alone and meet new people there!
Make study plans with the people you met. That is a good first step towards meeting up for fun and become friends!
Yes, you can even use Social Media to make friends abroad! Texting might feel easier than starting a conversation in real life, which can make it easy to get people’s attention that you are there.
Of course, texting doesn’t replace the impact of real talking but considering you will want to be friends with who you started texting with, there should be no problems (assuming you will actually meet up.)
I have stumbled upon quite a few people from my school on social media, and sometimes I texted them saying I am new and from Switzerland, asking them a simple question afterward.
Doing that started some good conversations, and I managed to meet most of them too. I don’t exactly remember with who I got good friends with though.
My last tip or advice to y’all is to SAY YES!
Don’t misunderstand, obviously don’t say yes if people haze you (report that to your school) or you’re genuinely scared of something. What I’m telling you is that it all begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Even if you rather watch Netflix in your room, get yourself together and do something! The best experiences you will have abroad are spontaneous and crazy ones most of the time. Moments with friends or host family.
To get all those amazing experiences, you need to go out and create them!
You are abroad girl, make the most of it.
- Reasons to Study Abroad
- The Ultimate Study Abroad Guide
- College Application Guide for International Students
- Study Abroad Bucket List
- Study Abroad Essentials
These were my tips on how to make friends abroad! I hope it helped you and you will find amazing people not only in your exchange year but also back home again.
Tell me in the comments which country you’ll be studying in! Can’t wait to hear.