After months of planning, researching, packing, and saying your last goodbyes you have finally arrived in the new country or city that you now will be calling home. Your excited, nervous, and ready to get out and explore. But wait, who is going to go exploring your new home with you? You just said goodbye to everyone back home and the just me, myself, and I feeling is really sinking in. So what is one to do?
These past 9 months have at times been a real struggle for me in the friend department. I left my small hometown filled with friends I have known my whole life to live in a place where I knew very few people. On a mission to make some great new friends I have been on some interesting “friend dates”. My friend mission is not over yet but after a few successful “friend dates” I wanted to pass along some ideas on how I have met people here in Iceland.
1. Take a Language Classes
If you are moving to a country where you do not speak the native language sign up for a language class. It is a great place to meet others, often many of your classmates will be new to the area as well. And learning the local language is always a good idea. I have meet some interesting characters in my language courses, but some of my closes friends are people that I met in class and we can relate to each other in many ways.
If learning a new language is something you don’t need to worry about in your new area sign up for a dance course, pottery, or even cooking classes. Okay all three of these are things I really want to take and am just waiting for them to be offered in English (or for my Icelandic to be good enough that I can understand).
2. Join Facebook Groups
In Iceland we have a few Facebook groups for foreigners living here and it has been a great resource for me to get information on questions I may have. This Facebook group is also where I found a local volleyball team to join (okay this didn’t go as well as planned but maybe I will give it another try in the future) and is also where I found my bookclub. The Facebook group often post information about events happening in the area as well that otherwise I wouldn’t have heard of.
Just a warning, you may come across negative people in these groups. Don’t let their negative nancy talk get you down. I struggled with this at first when many were posting saying if you don’t speak Icelandic you will never find a job. Look past the negative takl and find the good!
3. Join a gym
If fitness is your thing get a membership for your local gym. As us human’s are creatures of habits people will often go to the gym at the same time each day. It is just a matter of time before you start up a conversation with the girl who is always next to you in spinning class. Okay maybe it won’t happen exactly like this, but for me being active and taking classes at my gym has helped me met people with similar interest to me. And having a workout partner to help motivate me to leave my house during those dark Icelandic winter days has been very helpful.
4. Sign up for a club
Similar to signing up for classes, joining a club in something your interested in is a great way to meet like minded people. If your living in an area that has lots of awesome hiking trails maybe try joining a hiking club. Movies, knitting, reading, cooking, there really is a club for most anything you just need to look. My bookclub is one of my favorite things and I look forward to meeting up with my group every month.
5. Get an Internship or Volunteer
For some of us getting a job in the foreign country we are living in isn’t an option. When I moved to Iceland the first time I was unable to work here and knew I needed something to fill my time. My grandma suggested I find somewhere to volunteer and I am so glad I took her advice.
I found an organization that needed someone to handle all their marketing (which is what my college degree is in) and it was the perfect fit. I was able to gain experience and make some new friends. They also sent me to Paris so it was a pretty great deal. Some of the people I interned with I am still in touch with today and it was an experience that helped me land my current job.
These tips are all things I have tried myself. Some have been successful, others not so much. The main thing is to just be willing to get out of your comfort zone and try as many new things as possible! I know it can be scary going to events where you no nobody, you are in a foreign country and everything is new and frightening. But just think of how much more enjoyable it would be having someone who you can relate what your experience with.
So get out there and have some fun!
Question of the Day?
How have you met people after moving to a new place?
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