Are you ready for the most eye-opening experience of your life? I sure hope so, because that’s what studying abroad can be for you, if you let it. 🙂
But let’s be real: whether you admit it or not, putting your home life on pause and moving across the world on your own can actually be a bit scary. Who would have thought?!
Maybe you’re naturally outgoing, or maybe you’re on the shy side. Either way, it can be a challenge for everyone to socially navigate a new place and find the people you want to be more than “study-buddies” with.
But don’t worry — there are steps you can take to make the process of finding your community a whole lot easier. Just know that you might have to step outside of your comfort zone!
Here are three easy ways to find and create your community while studying abroad:
1. Attend welcome events and meetups.
Regardless of how you may feel about school-run events, there’s no denying that university gatherings are ideal for meeting new people. Even if you think up some excuse not to, go anyway! Don’t have anyone to go with? Embrace the discomfort and go alone! It’ll be so worth it.
2. Audit university club & society meetings.
It may be an art form, a sport, an ideology or a cause — whatever it is that you’re into, there will be a corresponding society that is waiting to welcome you in as a new member at any point in the school year. Hint: you’re not required to actually join; you can always attend meetings just to connect with new people!
3. Welcome newcomers into your circle.
It’s common for study abroad students to somewhat frantically connect with as many people as possible right in the beginning of their experience. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But if after the first few weeks you’ve found yourself a wee group of friends, don’t stop there! Stay open and inviting, and remember, your community is always growing. You have plenty of time. And you never know who you’ll meet throughout your time abroad!
At the heart of each memorable experience you have abroad are the people you share it with. Your future travel companions, adventure buddies, and coffee shop crew are waiting for you! All you have to do is get out there and find them.