Starting your life over in a foreign country isn’t easy, and neither is re booting your social life. Sometimes it feels like everyone back home is moving on without you, while you are off in a parallel universe, making different choices and living a completely different life. The time difference doesn’t make it any easier to communicate either. On top of that, sometimes it’s hard to feel like an outsider in your new home on a regular basis. As soon as I open my mouth, people know I’m not from here, and sometimes feeling like I’m alone (ish) in a strange place makes me lonely and nostalgic as well. Instead of shutting myself inside, eating mcdonalds and watching Friends all night (yes, it is always always on) making an effort to keep in touch with family and old friends as well as making new friends is much more beneficial.
Make time to skype and email. Yes, it can be inconvenient, and yes it can require planning but staying in touch is worth it. The things you would text to your friends can easily be sent via fb messenger or g chat. You don’t have to go totally off the grid.
Find people who share common interests. I have found an awesome running group here in the UK and signed up for German lessons. Through these I’ve met new friends and filled out my calendar a bit. Whether it’s volunteering, adult Ed or play groups these are great places to connect.
Say yes to invitations. So your first choice of activities wouldn’t have been sushi/coffee/ the mall. Say yes anyway because this is how you make friends, meet new people and find new places to go. Plus, you may have a great time and discover a new interest. It could be awkward for the first 20 minutes you’re at a party and don’t know anyone, but it gets better (or you can leave. )
Plan visits home. Not an option for everyone, but I am going home for 3 weddings this year. I knew I’d regret not going and it’s a way to ensure a lot of people I want to see are in the same place. I extended the trips to make sure I’d have time for family and friends who wouldn’t be at the weddings as well.
Invite friends and family to visit you! “I know transatlantic flights are expensive, but you’ll have a free place to stay!” That’s generally my first argument. It gives your friends and family a home base, a chance to visit with you and a trip somewhere they may not have gone otherwise. I’d say that’s a win for everyone.
How have you kept in touch or met new friends after moving away?