1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE
You don’t have to be fluent but everyone appreciates a little effort. Knowing how to greet natives in the country you’re visiting will make interacting much easier. Plus, you’ll probably have a cute little accent, which everyone will comment on. Gets the people talking, gets the friendships built.
2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA #1
If you want to make friends abroad, sometimes it requires a little preparation before you go. For me this included APPS. Social media apps. I found one called HelloTalk and it really is a gem. I used it up until I moved to Paris, and I felt so much more confident in my French speaking ability and just my knowledge of the city. HelloTalk allows you to converse with native speakers of whatever language you want to learn. It’s an exchange. Someone wants to learn English? Cool, hit me up, I’ll respond to you in French. It’s great because it has an integrated correction system. The other person can point out and rewrite the phrases I wrote incorrectly. It was helpful. Of course, if you were lucky enough to combat the weirdos (every app has their creepers) congrats! You’ve made yourself a native friend, in the city you’re going to visit, who will be your personal tour guide. Enjoy!
3. AIRBNB HOSTS/ NEIGHBOURS
Ok, this one is a luck of the draw. I was fortunate enough to have the best AirBnB host. Not only did she give me a tour of the area on my first day, share her cinema subscription (I saw way too many movies for free), cook for me when I was ill… BUT she also genuinely became my friend. Often, the people who rent out their homes on AirBnB are just like you. They’re probably travellers themselves, wanting to meet new people and share experiences. Don’t be afraid to engage with them and pick their brains for helpful tips and tricks in the country you’re visiting.
(Unless of course, they’ve explicitly stated they have no time for you… then why even choo… just choose your host carefully next time)
Secondly, talk to your neighbours! If you’re staying in Paris, it’s likely you will be in an apartment block. See someone in your age group (or maybe not) leaving the building?Spark up a conversation. Ask them the time, when’s the next metro, whatever. Let them know you’re foreign (and therefore interesting) and you want some tips and cool places to visit.
4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA #2
If you love to travel, I’m sure you’re already following tons of travel vloggers and Instagrammers, keeping yourself updated on where to go and how to get there. One of my favs is DamonandJo, (If you don’t know who they are… get it together).
Thanks to their perfectly-timed meetup in Paris in October, I was able to meet some great like-minded people. In fact, it was the most successful way for me to meet people, and it’s how I met my girl Laura! Again, use social media to your advantage. Find people who share similar interests and try and spark up a conversation. Maybe you will become friends!
Facebook and Instagram are also great for finding events whether free or ticketed in your area. It was thanks to Facebook that I found out Logic was bringing his tour to Europe and I got tickets to go. It’s thanks to Instagram that I found cute little bistros to eat at in Paris. These popularised and advertised events are another way to meet people and make friends. Go on your own, who cares? When you leave, you’ll probably have some new acquaintances or at least a new memorable experience.
All in all, it depends on how badly you want to meet people and how much you put yourself out there. It’s not easy but taking the risk will pay off.
3 fitting words for this post; “Social media”, Socialising, “New Friends”