Archive for February, 2010

12 Ways to Make Friends in Foreign Places

by admin

Traveling or moving to a foreign place can be fairly overwhelming for the majority of people, especially if you are by yourself.  Not only is it stressful getting adjusted to new surroundings, but many people find it difficult to break into local cliques and make new friends.  This can lead to an immediate longing for a return home.  On the bright side, even if you are the shy, introverted type, it doesn’t have to be difficult to meet people. As long as you’re open and willing to try new things (which most travelers are) you’ll have no problem breaking into the local seen and developing relationships with almost anyone. The list below should provide you with a plethora of ideas for going to the right places and finding new friends.

1.  Stay in a Hostel – Hostels are usually full of very open, international travelers looking to get the best cultural experiences.  Some may consider these place to be lower quality (when compared to nice hotels), but they will allow you to save money and meet other like-minded individuals.  Check out to find a hostel in cities around the world.

2.  Take a Class – Art, language learning, yoga, dance, and many other types of classes offer an easy opportunity to meet people with similar interests in a small group setting. People are not on their guard as much as in a nightclub setting, making it easier to open a conversation.

3.  Volunteer – Volunteers are generally very helpful, trustworthy, and open to new friendships.  Check out ‘4 Hacks for Working Anywhere’ for places to look for volunteering activities globally.

4.  Learn the Local Language – Most countries outside of the US stress language learning from an early age.  It is common for a foreigner to know 3-4 languages fluently.  Most people from the US know English and the eight Spanish swear words they learned during their three years of studying it in school.  Foreigners greatly appreciate and are much more receptive to those who make an attempt at speaking their language. Check out ‘Best Language Learning System For Everyone’ for getting up to speed on a new language quickly.

5.  Group Sports – Any type of group competition or sporting event helps you develop an instant bond with those you’re playing with.  For example, if you don’t speak any of the local language, but you’re a good basketball player, you’ll make new friends in a heartbeat.  Ask a local or pick up the local paper to find leagues or pick up games in the area of your choice.

6.  Ask For Help – Most people in foreign places are very helpful to those who ask for it and love to show off their own knowledge.  People will not usually talk to you if you are standing around without saying anything.  Be outgoing and ask people questions, even if you already know the answer.

7.  Online Social Networking –,,,,, among others are free, social networking sites hosting millions of people’s profiles from around the world.  From any internet accessible location, they provide an easy way to make new friends in a foreign location.

8.  Religious Services and Gatherings – Churches and the events associated with them offer some of the most friendly and open people you will ever meet. and Google Maps are excellent resources for finding churches and services in any city you visit.

9.  Sporting Events – Wear the local team’s sporting apparel and you can easily strike up a conversation with numerous fans (or haters).  You can meet people tailgating in the parking lot or even in the stadium during the event.  Local sports bars off the same opportunities.  Use to get tickets to larger sporting events, and local papers for finding out about others.

10.  Craigslist Community – The community section of (click on your city and then the community section) lists plenty of local activities on a daily basis for cities around the world.

11.  Couchsurf – As stated in an earlier article, CouchSurfing helps travelers find hosts who will let them stay at their place for free. It is the largest hospitality exchange network with over 1 million members (35% of them are offering a place to stay for travelers) in 232 countries. This large and active community is one of the best portals to making new friends, experiencing local cultures, and traveling cheaply.

12.  Bars/Clubs – Typical places to meet others looking to party and have a good time. Check out, or do a search for “Nightlife” in the forum of the city of your choice to find the best venues.