Making international friends is not only great fun, but it’s a way of learning more about different cultures and countries. You’ll never get bored with conversations comparing food, festivals and famous landmarks from each other’s homes. Not to mention the trips that you’ll make to visit your overseas pals. International friendships will also help you to relate to people from diverse backgrounds as you enter the workplace and progress through your career.
But making international friends is not always easy. Unless you’re living in a very mixed community or have the opportunity to travel extensively you might find it difficult to meet people. Even then, knowing how to get on well can come as a challenge.
Our team at Gledus have plenty of experience forming cross-cultural friendships. Many of us have lived or worked abroad, and in even in our day to day tasks collaborate with our colleagues in the UK and China. In this article, we share our best tips for making friends from other countries.
Meeting people from other countries
The first stage in forming international friendships is to meet people from abroad. Here are some ideas of how to do this.
- Volunteer as a tourist guide
If you live or study in a tourist destination, why not volunteer to show international visitors around? Many popular cities operate free walking tours where guides have the opportunity to chat to tourists and answer their questions. Perhaps you know a great place for coffee or can walk them to one of your favourite neighbourhoods. Helping people from other countries in this way will encourage them to get to know you.
- Chat to people while travelling
When you have the chance to visit a different country, look for opportunities to talk to locals or other visitors. While you should always be careful who you trust and never put yourself in danger, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation if it’s appropriate. For example, if you’re having a meal out, your waiter might be pleased to tell you what it’s like in their town. If you’re on a group excursion, fellow travellers might enjoy chatting about the sites that you’re seeing. Showing you’re approachable and open to discussion is a good start in getting international people to talk with you.
- Go to an international summer camp
If you’re a little too young to work with tourists or aren’t able to travel to many places, an international summer camp is a great opportunity to meet people from abroad. Staying for a few weeks with peers from different nationalities brings the world to you. Most camps include fun activities and day trips where you’ll get to know each other in a safe environment. Some even provide language lessons so you’ll learn the phrases needed to communicate with foreign friends.
|Find out about Gledus’ international summer camps – they could help you make friends from other countries quickly and safely.|
Making friends from other countries
Once you’ve made some international contacts, you’ll want to get to know them better. Here’s what you can do become firm friends.
- Remember your similarities as well as your differences
While your first few conversations might highlight some big differences between you and your new international contacts, remember that you’re both human. Many people fall into the trap of thinking they’ve little in common with people from other countries. But even if your home towns or cultural background vary, they’ll still be things like favourite foods, subjects at school or hobbies that you’ll share.
- Use social media to communicate from afar
One of the most difficult things about having international friends is the distance between your homes. After getting to know each other at first, you’ll need a means to keep your friendship going when you’re apart. Luckily, social media allows you keep chatting and share your news. Some travel activities or summer camps even host special online groups for attendees to stay in contact. It’s worth joining these when you leave.
|At Gledus, we love to help our camp attendees keep in touch with each other. Read more about how we promote life-long, international friendships here.|
- Keep in touch and pay each other visits
To really make the most of your international friends, you should look out for opportunities to meet again. Trips and summer camps may organise reunions where you can relive the memories of when you first bonded. If you’re able, visiting your friends from other countries is also one of the best things you can do. Not only will your pals be delighted that you’re willing to go to them, but you’ll enjoy unforgettable trips made better with the guidance of local friends.
Did you find this helpful? Read more about all things international on our blog.
Gledus’ aim is to bring the world together through education. We host international summer camps in the north-west of England. They offer students outstanding English teaching and the chance to make life-long friends from other countries.
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