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Basic Guidelines to Breaking the Ice and Making Friends When Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is incredibly exciting. Experiencing a new culture, learning a language, meeting people from every corner of the globe, eating delicious food, it is all exhilarating.
And if you really end up enjoying your time abroad, there is a chance that you will be bit by the international bug and want to pursue your career abroad after graduation. If this is the case, then taking advantage of the opportunity for international networking when studying abroad is important.
However, making friends is undoubtedly a top of mind concern for many International Indian students. But have confidence that slowly, gradually and eventually you will find the right people whose company will make your study abroad experience an enjoyable and enriching one.
In cases where English is not the first language of your host university, making friends becomes even more difficult. Here are the few pointers to keep in mind when associating with new people:
- Know That Most People Are Really Nice: We don’t want to give you the impression that people are cold and selfish. It’s just that they’re busy and, a lot of times, don’t want to encroach on other people’s personal space. If you’re proactive and open up, you’ll find that most people are very nice and happy to get to know you.
- Don’t Rely on Other People Coming Up to You: In a perfect world, people would come up to international students, extend their hand and make introductions the moment they arrive on campus. Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s going to work. People are busy with their own social lives, staying on top of their grades, going to work, and all kinds of other responsibilities. If you wait for other people to introduce themselves, you may be waiting for a while, so make sure you’re proactive about making friends.
- Take Classes with International Students: Being in a class with the same people two or three times a week will give you the chance to make at least one friend with a fellow international student. If the course will require participation in group projects, that’s even better! Even if you can’t change your academic course load, sign up for a class on your own– maybe a casual, once-a-week language course to meet more international such as yourself.
- Join a Group:This is probably going to be the easiest way to begin meeting people. You could join any number of different student organizations. This will get you around lots of people in a non-classroom setting where socializing is expected.
- Use School Resources: Most schools will have resources for international students to help them settle in. Make sure you make your own opportunity to meet people and create a social circle. While a lot of the events these resources put on will be aimed solely at other international students, you should still find that enough international students show up, helping you interact with a diverse group of individuals.
Also remember, a big part of experiencing a new country is getting to know people from that country. They’ll also help you learn about the area and show you places your fellow international students most likely wouldn’t know were there. To meet the “true” locals, consider taking a cooking class or another type of one-off course where you know that people who live in the city will go to.