Moving overseas can be an excellent opportunity, but it can also be challenging! Loneliness can easily creep in. Making friends abroad is a must for you to thrive in your new location! Are you worried and saying to yourself, “I moved to a new country and have no friends”? Here are some helpful tips for making friends abroad, even if you are an introvert.
- Check out my related post on: How to deal with the challenges of moving away from family and friends
18 Tips on how to make friends overseas and where to meet them
Pick up a hobby
Are you interested in picking up a new hobby?
Do you already have a favorite hobby you want to continue now that you have moved to another country?
Research and see what types of hobby groups are prevalent in your area. This could be an excellent opportunity to learn something new and make foreign friends! Picking up hobbies are a great form of self-care, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom.
Look into the local sports groups
Before I had my failed foot surgery, I sought out running groups. Honestly, this is where I made some of my closest friends. Many of these groups will have various levels allowing almost anyone to join. I have always favored these types of groups. They often will meet weekly and provide something for those at all levels.
- Bocce ball
Particiapte in intramural sports
Check the local newspaper and Facebook groups. I also recommend checking out the local billboards that host pamphlets for events. The great thing about intramurals is that they can host a variety of sports- some being more athletic than others. They are often more of a social event than a competitive sport.
Take language courses
A language course can be an excellent way to make new friends abroad. I have loved my German language class. Attending a course allows you to befriend people in a similar situation.
My town offers classes; however, I cannot attend due to the lack of childcare. My recommendation if you’re in the same position: look for an online course! For me, most students are located at the nearest post, a few hours away. But I still feel connected and can meet up when I am in town. These students are other military spouses.
Learning the language will also help you integrate into the culture and allow you to make friends with the locals!
Visit the dog parks
In Germany, the dogs are so well-behaved and don’t need to be leashed! If you have a fur baby, a dog park is a great place to hang out and meet others! Animals can be the perfect icebreaker.
Volunteering can be very rewarding and often will lead to additional rewarding events. Check out the local newspaper and social media groups. Reach out to vendors of local events. This can be an additional opportunity to meet some locals and making foreign friends.
Check out the local clubs
(Bodensee yacht club, tennis club, etc.)
Many cities have their local clubs. This is a great way to meet people and make friends of all ages who share similar hobbies. It can even give you an advantage in integrating more into the culture and language. I listed a couple located in my town.
Visit the local hangout spots
I believe that the local hangout spots are hidden gems. If this is true for America, it is likely for a foreign country too! Many of these spots will have “frequent flyers” to allow you to meet and hopefully form a lasting friendship. These spots also tend to have local “what’s going on flyers” that will enlighten you about upcoming events.
Join a gym
It’s a great place to get your sweat on and meet others. This can be a great avenue to meet people who share your workout passion!
Reach out to friends of friends and family
Do you have friends of friends living close by? Take advantage of the connection! Ask your loved ones if you can get their information. Not only is this an opportunity for friendship, but it can be a wealth of knowledge to help you gain footing in a new country.
Take your kids to the playgrounds
My son and I frequent playgrounds several times a week. This is a great place to meet other moms with kids the same age. Don’t forget to pack your little ones essentials.
Join a playgroup
Have you met some mommas already? Keep in touch with weekly to monthly play group dates. It is an excellent excuse to get together. And often, it is a necessary form of self-care as a mamma! This allows the opportunity for your kids to make friends as well!
Join moms morning out classes
If you’re a momma of little kids, I encourage you to seek these classes out. These classes can give you a much-needed break and give you an opportunity to making friends overseas. I have loved our mama’s morning out group, and have found that it will help with my patience with my toddler.
Plan dinners with your spouse’s co-workers
Schedule dinner dates with your spouse’s co-workers. We live a couple of hours from the closest base, so we have become close with the two other Americans my husband works with. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to meet their co-workers and spouses.
Attend the work events
My husband and I prioritize attending his work functions, even when we are too exhausted to participate. As a military spouse, being present for such events is also essential.
Join a church
Although the language barrier can offer challenges, I encourage you to reach out. This could be a great opportunity for you and your family to make friends overseas. Church’s also offers various support groups that you may find suitable for you!
Meet your neighbors
Take the time to introduce yourself. Not only can these neighbors be potential friends, but they can be a great resource if you run into any issues with your housing. It was one of my neighbors that first introduced the Fastnacht schedule to me!
Meet foreign friends online
How to make friends from other countries on Instagram
If you are active on social media, it can be a great tool to make friends abroad. Instagram is quite the popular platform. Check this site out for some helpful tips to use instagram to meet foreign friends online: Read here
How to make friends and contacts with friends from other countries
I would highly suggest downloading the app Whatsapp. This is often the form of communicating with foreign friends online. Both expats and locals use this app.
Using Facebook and Facebook events for making foreign friends online
Living a couple of hours away from the post, in a small German town off of Lake Konstanze (Bodensee), several expats are here! There is an International School just a town over in Salem!
My milspouse girfriends son overheard some English speakers and reached out to them This got us tied in to a large expat group, many of them working at the Salem International School
These people have been a fantastic group of foreign friends from all over the world. There are scheduled meetups every month or so, and then more often are moms’ groups.
Some additional questions you may have about making friends abroad
Is it lonely moving to another country?
As I mentioned previously, it can definitely be lonely moving to another country. Using these tips will help make friends overseas, and help with the lonliness.
why is it hard to make friends abroad?
Moving overseas can be quite a culture shock.
Embrace the culture and language
This is so important. You are now living in THEIR country. Be open-minded to their cultures. I have found myself accepting and loving aspects of German culture. I will miss them so much when I move back to the States. It is a great learning opportunity. When the locals see you interested in their culture, it allows many to accept you, which can blossom into a unique friendship.
how to make friends overseas when you’re an introvert?
Get out of your comfort zone.
The feelings of starting over can be overwhelming, even paralyzing, if you suffer from social anxiety. The language barrier and cultural differences can be overwhelming. When I first moved to Germany, our little town, many didn’t speak English. It was so intimidating. We ate pizza for several days, because I didn’t know how to order anything else.
Get out of your comfort zone! It will be challenging at first, and it may take a bit to gain the courage to do so. Once you start putting yourself out there, you will find that your confidence will begin to grow.
Accept the invitation! Sometimes the idea of a quiet night at home is the most appealing- especially as a pregnant momma with a toddler. But it is always worth going to the events. Sometimes saying yes is the most challenging part!
Be open to experiences.
I can’t express this one enough! With a new country comes new experiences. Branch out and be open-minded. This can be an excellent opportunity for personal growth and making friends abroad.
Be the one to plan a meet-up.
Did you meet an expat or local? Offer to exchange contact information. Reach out for a coffee or kid playdate. Don’t be afraid to make that first move.
Embrace this new chapter of making friends abroad!
Moving overseas away from family and friends can be challenging. Think of it as another opportunity to broaden your horizons. Make new friends, and enjoy new experiences! Utilize these tips to help form life long friendships, and embrace the opportunity of forming life long foreign friends!
I would love to hear back from you! Have you recently moved abroad? How did you find making friends overseas? Did any tips in particular help you?