Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Making friends in a foreign country

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If you’re lucky enough to travel or live abroad – perhaps as part of an exchange or work experience – in order to get the most out of your stay it’s essential to mix with the locals. This allows you to put your language skills to the test and find out more about the local culture and way of life. Having lived abroad several times, I’ve put together a list of tips based on my own experiences to help you make friends in a foreign country.

1. First and foremost - say yes to EVERYTHING (within reason). Obviously, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any way DON’T feel obliged to agree to do something. However, don’t be put off trying something new or going to somewhere you’ve never been before. You never know, the group of students from your class who invite you out for a coffee might end up being your friends for life! I’ll never forget the time I tried fried grasshoppers in the south of Mexico. I can safely say I won’t be eating them again, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless!

2. Secondly, find a hobby or try something entirely new. Join a dance class (I did this in Spain despite having two left feet), a walking club, a photography class, a gym, or learn to cook the local cuisine – the possibilities really are endless!

3. Another option is to attend language exchanges or find a buddy to practise with. This allows you to meet a whole lot of people who are also looking to make friends.

4. Get out of the house! Hours spent in front of Netflix and endless Skype conversations with family and friends back home are a sure-fire way to ensure you feel even more homesick. Make the most of the new and exciting place you live in. Instead of staying shut in your room – go out and explore!

5. Lastly - don’t be a wallflower. When you are miles from home, surrounded by people speaking an unfamiliar language and immersed in a foreign culture, it may feel incredibly difficult to be confident and involve yourself in conversations, especially with large groups of people. Nevertheless, try to persevere and make your voice heard. If big groups are intimidating, strike up conversations with individual people in order to get to know them better. More likely than not, you will find that everyone wants to know everything about you, so take advantage of being a novelty.


Do you find it easy or difficult to make new friends? 


Salmankas's picture
Salmankas 18 August, 2016 - 21:55

I think it is great to have a friend from a foreign country.. :) If you respect each other it is not difficult to find a new friend.. It is a big chance to learn about other cultures, traditions, languages IT'S GREAT :)

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Manaly's picture
Manaly 4 August, 2016 - 17:13

Well, for me i find it so easy to make friends specially the online ones. I have friends from so many different countries, from India, Uk, Pakistan and Somalia. The only difficulty that i faced is in the conversation since my level is not that good especially when i want to talk in details about soemrhing happened.

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mumu326's picture
mumu326 26 May, 2016 - 07:17

well. i love to make friends. my mom has two foreign friends . so she supports me to make friendship. but it's not so easy. it's true that i wanna make foreign friends too , though i m afraid if this virtual world. however i think i will be able to get a good foreign friend :) :)

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JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 26 May, 2016 - 10:55

Hi mumu326,
Thanks for your comment. You're right to be careful of making friends online. Have you seen our Online safety tips in this poster? On our website you can interact with learners of English from all over the world and we are here to make sure that the site is safe. Good luck with your studies! 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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4444's picture
4444 3 December, 2015 - 14:37

it's very difficult to find new friends especially in a foreign country !
in my opinion, friends are really indispensable like the family because being alone isn't good idea soo,,

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Ken's picture
Ken 5 December, 2015 - 08:16

Hi 4444! May I ask a question? You think it difficult to find new friends in fireign countries because of a language barrier or other readons? How can we overcome the barrier??

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Ken's picture
Ken 1 December, 2015 - 23:37

Okay.... about friends. When do you regard sb as your 'friend'?
Well.... friend1, friend2, friend3, (I mean a level?).... a best friend falls in more than friend5, of course! And my girl friend does, or falls in a different criteria.....!

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Amela123's picture
Amela123 1 December, 2015 - 17:05

It' s really hard to find a good friend. They can be evil, selfish and really rude! But I found my best friend! His name is Mirela, she is 13. I met her when I was 7. She is really nice and good..

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Beka15's picture
Beka15 15 November, 2015 - 21:34

Well, I guess it depends. I find it easier t make new friends from foreign countries than from my country. I simply prefer talking to foreign people - they have never heard of you before, they don't judge. Although I'm always happy to meet new friends, regardless of where they come from :)

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