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How to Make Friends While Working Abroad

Ed Gregory

Looking to make friends in your new city? Get out there and "meet up."

I’ve been in Amsterdam for a few weeks now and can finally say it’s starting to feel more like home. My days have fallen into a routine and I’ve gotten used to the sounds of the street from my new apartment.

As comfortable as I’m starting to feel in my new city, one thing is still missing: my friends.

Moving to Amsterdam is the first time I’ve lived somewhere new where I don’t have school or a job to help me meet people. When I moved away for university, I had friends from home who were at the same school. As a freshman, I lived in residence, which was an easy environment to develop friendships. Later in my undergrad when I moved to a different city for a summer job, I was able to make new friends with the other students I worked with. Moving to Amsterdam, I was faced with a new challenge

During my time in Amsterdam I’m doing freelance work, which means I spend a lot of time working from home. Freelancing allows for tons of flexibility in my schedule, but doesn’t do much in the meeting people department. Because of this, I have had to look for new ways to meet people.

I would describe myself as a more introverted individual and the thought of having to go somewhere and introduce myself to a bunch of strangers seemed terrifying.

Through an online search, I found and signed up for a website called meetup.com. Once you register, you enter your interests and can find groups of individuals who are interested in the same types of things. Within these “meet-up groups,” members organize events that are open to the meet-up community.

Before my first event I was nervous. I would describe myself as a more introverted individual and the thought of having to go somewhere and introduce myself to a bunch of strangers seemed terrifying. It wasn’t until I got there that I realized that everyone at these events is in the same situation as I am. They’re new to the city, are looking to meet people, and many are probably just as nervous as I am about doing it. Once I figured this out, the rest of my meet-ups experiences were much less stressful!

The great thing about attending meet-ups is that you choose the type of people you want to meet. I’ve attended everything from after-work drinks with an all-women meet-up group, to a rock climbing event with a group for young expats. Both of these groups have allowed me to meet people from all around the globe who share similar interests and are going through a similar experience as me right now.

Making friends in a new city is hard, but it isn’t impossible. If you put the effort in and are willing to push outside of your comfort zone, you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Trust me, it’s worth it.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Tori Holmes

Tori Holmes is a Canadian freelance copywriting and social media specialist living in Amsterdam. After graduating from the University of Guelph and doing post-graduate studies at the University of Toronto, Tori moved to Amsterdam to fulfill her dream of living and working abroad.

Website: www.findtherightwords.ca

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