Whenever a person is moving to a new city or country, it is quite difficult to find amiable friends to share you experience with. This is the precise reason that many expats elect to go home after their first few months because of their lack of friends to socialize with. One way to avoid this predicament is to become active in meeting people from the first day you arrive at your new destination.
From personal experience, I can say that Meet Up Groups are one of the best ways to find individuals who share common interests with you when you are living as an expat abroad. When considering how to find the right Meet Up Group for you it is best to sit down at a coffee shop with a pad and paper and make a list of your top ten interests. Once you do this, download the “Meetup” App and set your mobile to your current location. At that point, there will be a list of Meet Up Groups in your area and what their membership requirements are.
Many of the options that you will see revolve around a happy hour of some sort. This is an ideal setting because you are meeting in a public place and can escape if absolutely necessary. Additionally, what is great about these happy hours is that expats and locals attend, which is a great way to perhaps find some friends that are native to your new locale. When you attend the happy hour, many Meet Up Groups charge a small fee to offer a discounted drink or something of that sort. This is a worthwhile investment so that you can attempt to integrate yourself into the local community.
Another great aspect of the “Meetup” App is that there are professional organizations on there as well. For example, when I was living in Santiago, there were a plethora of IT related professional groups that were a result of the Chilean Government’s Start Up Chile Program, which has attracted a lot of foreign IT experts to Chile. By finding the right professional organization for you, you may make potential friends and contacts that way. Additionally, you may be able to network for a better job as well one day.
Moving abroad is an enormous risk but the important thing to remember is that you are only going to get out of it what you put into it. Thus, if you get out there and really try to meet some new people, you never know who you will be exposed to and where your interaction will go. Meet Up Groups are a great way to integrate yourself into the social scene of your new locale that you should definitely consider as an expat.