Moving to study in a foreign country comes with many challenges – from adapting to a new culture and learning a new language, to trying to find a place to live. However, one of the toughest – and least spoken about – challenges is making new friends.
First things first, You must be confident in your own unique personality and trust that there is a friendship circle for you wherever your feet may land. You must smile, hold your head up, make eye contact and seem approachable. You must understand that you’re not the only one looking for new friends.
If you’ve made the decision to study abroad, we applaud you. It takes guts to leave the comforts of your friends and family at home, but we promise the effort is worth it. Not only will you see a new part of the world, you’ll experience a different style of education, take in a new culture, hone your language skills, find new interests, test your adaptability, and boost your employment prospects. .
If you still find yourself spending too much time alone, there are things you can do to step up your quest for friendship. This includes…
1. Start with your housemates
If you’ve opted for student accommodation, get to know the small community of your home first. As soon as you arrive, arrange a dinner to show how friendly you are. If you don’t want to cook, walk together to a nearby restaurant or go grab a coffee. Lonsdale Institute offer student accommodation options in both Melbourne and Sydney.
In Sydney, Link2 accommodation is well-positioned to provide easy access to restaurants, cafes and the best of the CBD, so make the most of it and arrange a get-to-know-each-other date.
In Melbourne, Le Student 8 student housing offers affordable student housing in Preston, one of Melbourne’s most diverse and vibrant suburbs, located 20 minutes north of the CBD. The accommodation offers many facilities for socialising with new friends, including a games room, gym, sauna, swimming pool, BBQ area and more.
If you’ve opted for homestay accommodation, get to know your host family. These people might turn out to life long friends and the best support you’ve got here in Australia.
2. Reach out to friends of friends
If you’re coming to Australia to study with Lonsdale Institute, ask around your friends and see if they have any friends living in and around Melbourne and Sydney. Get a hold of their contact details and reach out. Most people understand that moving to another country can be daunting, and chances are they’ll be more than happy to join you for a drink or dinner one evening. They may even invite you to a party or two, giving you ample opportunity to meet new people.
3. Take part in activities
Your chosen place of study should offer some great activities in which you can meet fellow students. Sign up to as many as you can and you’ll soon have a plethora of friends. At Lonsdale Institute, every Friday there is an excursion of some kind – graffiti tours, bubble soccer, museum visits, exhibitions – and they are an excellent way to have fun and speak to your classmates outside of classroom and lecture rooms.
4. Join a club
Talk to your guidance support about your hobbies and help them find you a nearby club in which to join. Play soccer, tennis, chess – anything that will help you feel part of a team/social network. Belonging to a social/sports club can also have membership benefits such as discounts at local cafes, bars and cinemas.
5. Sign up for meetups
Meetups are a great way to bring people together. You can choose what sort of things you’re into, meetup with people that share your passion, and do more of what makes you tick. Search for upcoming meetups near you, or create your own group if nothing tickles your fancy. Why go exploring a new city on your own if you can invite a bunch of strangers to join you?
6. Open your door
People are a lot more likely to think of you as friendly and approachable if you keep your door open and welcome people in. A closed door is a quick way to tell the others on you’re living with that you don’t want to mingle. Invest in a doorstop and wedge that thing open when you’re open to socialising!
7. Host a communal dinner
If you’ve opted for student accommodation or your homestay hosts allow it, host a dinner party! This is a particularly great idea if you’re missing the flavours from home.
Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple dish to share will do. If budget is an issue, ask everyone to bring a small plate of food that represents a cuisine from their home country. Cooking and eating together is a great way to get to know people, as well as international cuisines!
8. Studying in the library
Instead of hiding in your room to study, take your books and hit the library. Take some snacks with you too, as nothing unites people more than an all-night cramming session over snacks. Why not ask if you can order a pizza and ask the others around you if they want to chip in? If you’re not allowed to eat in the library, ask your nearby studiers if they’d like to join you for a quick lunch break.
Alternatively, start up a study group or English-language learning group and meet at your favourite cafe or pub.
9. Be open-minded
You might think you know the kinds of people you like to be friends with, but be open-minded – friendship can spring up in the most unlikely of places, so don’t be too quick to judge. In fact, make it your mission to get to know someone you wouldn’t normally. Life is more fun with eclectic personalities around!