When you land in a new country, a new city, you’re far away from home and most likely you don’t have your family or your close group of friends living there. Today I’d like to write about establishing your new network in your new hometown. I’ll list a few tips, based on my experience, hoping it may be of help to others without wanting to teach anyone anything really new.
. CULTURE – Being familiar with your acquired new home’s culture will be an advantage. So make sure you read about it before moving to your new destination or once you arrive there. It’ll help blend in more smoothly and discover ‘Dos & Donts’, making your life easier.
. Try to find out what are the most important events & traditions. They could be Bank Holidays, Xmas traditions, Sport events, etc… For example, here in Australia almost everything is celebrated with a “Barbie”, a Bbq, and with a beer or with Drinks in general. Or the AFL, the Australian Football, so don’t try to organise a Bday party on the Footy Grand Final day like I almost did once! 😉
. NETWORK – whether you know it or not, you’ll still need to make a big effort to build a network of people. So put yourself out there, whether at work, at University or in your new neighbourhood. Be the one to make the 1st move as you’re the one looking to meet new people. People already have their networks and most of them, for different reasons (no time, not interested, …) will not make an effort. So start by saying ‘Good morning’, for example, or start a conversation, invite someone for a coffee or to lunch, stop & talk with people in the shops. You’ll find more open & less open people, kinder or more rude ones, that’s part of life, even back home.
. MAKING FRIENDS
1. Try to make any contact before moving to the country by exploring your existing network. You may find that a friend of a friend is living in the city you’re moving to and this person could be a key person to start your new life, you just never know!
2. If you have time, start a course, there are even some that are free or low cost. If you do something you like or you’d like to learn with a group of people, there’s a chance you could continue doing it with some of them even after the course has ended. I, for example, started a French and a Photography course among others. These are things I wanted to do properly for a long time, but I didn’t have the time or the will power before.
3. Go to Events or Meet ups about something you’re interested in (e.g. French conversation) or for people new to town.
4. Register on Internations, it’s an established organisation that organise events and get-togethers or any other organisation for expats. I personally met quite a few people in Melbourne through that.
5. Get in contact with your University Alumni, sometimes they welcome even other graduates from other Unis, or any associations you could be part of or become a member of. I was part of the Bocconi Alumni Association in Madrid and I met really interesting people I’m still contact with.
6. Do some Community Service, if you fancy that. There are several organisations for each ones tastes and inclinations. It’s a way to meet people in a more open & giving environment where people should already be prone to help others. When living in Melbourne I supported the Mission to Seafarers and took care of the administration & marketing side of the Porthole Maritime Gallery
7. Browse Blogs for expats. They might be useful also as a pre-search before moving to know more the new country/city and make some contacts as well. My blog is registered on Expat blog.
8. Register on groups on facebook that you think may be in line with you. For example I was part of ‘Españoles en Melbourne’ as I lived & worked in Spain for a few years and I couldn’t think of stopping speaking Spanish or being in contact with the Spanish culture & way of life! 😉
Among the people you meet with all these activities, some of them may even become good friends and will be added to your good friends back home.
In general, do not miss any opportunity to meet new people, network, go out… Even if, and especially when, you’re feeling lazy! That’s when you are likely to get more surprised and thank yourself for not staying at home that day!
These are some tips and the ones that have been working for me so far. Of course there are many more and maybe I’ll even find out more in the future.
What are your thoughts on this? What’s your experience? Please share it with me! 🙂