how to make friends abroad

How To Make Friends Abroad

Are you finding it difficult to make friends abroad? This post is going to show you the best strategies that I personally use for creating long lasting relationships overseas. If you want to know how to make friends abroad, follow the advice from this article and you’ll have more friends than you ever imagined.

After spending months of planning, saving and working, the moment has finally come and you’ve arrived abroad.

From here on out everything is going to fall into place and be smooth sailing. It’s time to reap the rewards of all the hard work you’ve done up to this moment.

Unfortunately, settling in abroad is never as easy as this. There are still a few things you need to get sorted so that you can comfortably settle into your new life abroad.

The reality is that most people don’t think that making friends abroad will be a problem for them. Because they’re quite likeable back home, they never imagined that they wouldn’t know how to make friends abroad.

Truth be told, this is one of the most difficult parts of settling in abroad.

You might find it extremely difficult to interact with people when you can’t even speak the same language as them.

Trust me when I say there have been many times when I’ve been sitting in my room alone, drinking a beer and eating pizza wondering if I made the right choice moving abroad.

We all have these feelings from time to time so don’t worry if you’re feeling the same way.

Thankfully, after living in 5 different countries and more than 10 different cities around the world, I’ve discovered the easiest ways to make new friends abroad no matter what your situation is.

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Couchsurfing Hangouts

couchsurfing hangouts - how to make friends abroad

One of the best ways to make friends with locals is through the Couchsurfing community. While most people think that Couchsurfing is only a website that allows you to stay at someone’s place for free, it also has community meetups.

Couchsurfing meetups allow you to meet up with locals, get them to show you around town, and even hang out with their friends.

If you’re looking to make new friends with locals quickly, this is the easiest way because you can literally find people to meet up with today!

Share An Apartment

Another great way to meet locals and discover the best places in the city is by sharing an apartment with others. If you’re moving to a new city by yourself and don’t know anyone, this is a great way to join a new social group quickly.

Because you’re living with these people, you’ll naturally become friends with them and start hanging out with their friends who will, in turn, become your friends.

Make sure you choose your roommates wisely though because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them.

If you’re interested in sharing an apartment, you should read a Comprehensive Guide to renting an apartment abroad to make sure you find the perfect place.

Meet Hundreds of People at Bars

meet hundreds of people at bars - how to make friends abroad

Going to pubs and bars are a great way to meet a mix of expats and locals. If you’re looking for some friends that you can interact with in English, then Irish and English pubs are a great way to meet people.

On top of this, the locals that you meet at these bars will be particularly interested in you because the reason they’re coming to these bars is to meet English speaking expats from around the world.

While this is a great way to meet people, don’t fall into the trap of going to the pub every night and spending all of your time with other expats. You can do that back home and that’s not the reason you moved abroad.

Language School

Although language schools can be expensive, they’re a great way to meet people from all around the world.

The people that you meet at language schools will often have similar interests to you as they’ve moved abroad and are learning a foreign language just like you.

Your classmates are in a similar situation to you because most of them will have just moved abroad and not know anyone either.

Spending too much time with your classmates can become a problem though. If you don’t make an effort to make some local friends you won’t have many opportunities to practice your language skills.

Tandem Language Exchange (Mobile App)

tandem language exchange (mobile app) - how to make friends abroad

This is one of the best applications out there for meeting people and practising your language skills.

Tandem is a language exchange app that allows you to connect with people in your area who want to practice their language skills.

For example, if you’re a native English speaker and want to learn Spanish, you would connect with people who are native Spanish speakers who want to learn English. So you might spend 30 minutes talking English and 30 minutes talking Spanish so that both of you can practice your language skills.

The app automatically shows you people that are in your area that you can connect with. You can either chat with them via the app, are meet up with them in person and talk with them that way.

By meeting up with them in person, they can take you to some local hotspots that foreigners wouldn’t otherwise know about and introduce you to their friends.

Try Local Activities and Hobbies

Participating in local activities and hobbies is something that I recommend everyone does when living abroad.

It gives you the opportunity to learn a new skill, make friends with locals, practice your language skills and understand the local culture more intimately.

These activities could be anything from learning how to dance, joining a sporting team, learning how to cook etc.

Work Abroad and Make Life Long Friends

work abroad and make life long friends - how to make friends abroad

While finding a job overseas might seem difficult, it’s an amazing way to meet new people.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your coworkers and probably hang out with them after work. They might introduce you to their friends and before you know it you’ve become part of a social group.

On top of this, if you’re working in a customer service job such as hospitality, you’ll be meeting many new people every day.

This allows you to practice your language skills with customers and potentially create some new friendships.

Unfortunately, if you work online it’s going to be a little more difficult to meet people at work. That being said, I will often work on my blog at cafes and libraries and make friends with other people that work there.

Facebook Groups and Forums

There are many different forums and Facebook groups out there that enable you to connect with other expats in your area.

This can be a good way to meet up with others who are in a similar situation as you and don’t know many people abroad.

Here are some great places to connect with others online:

If you’re worried about moving abroad and not having any friends, this is a great way to connect with people so that once you arrive, you’ll have people to meet up with.

However, you want to be careful that you don’t spend all your time with other expats. You haven’t moved abroad to hang out with the same sort of people that you would hang out with back home.

If you’re going to connect with other expats, be sure to try some of the other methods above so that you meet some locals as well.


Learning how to make friends abroad is extremely important if you want to take advantage of living overseas.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need some help making friends abroad because the truth is that it’s something that we all struggle with from time to time.

Thankfully, making friends doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the advice from this article, you’ll realise that forming new friendships while living abroad is actually easier than you thought.

So now that you know how to make friends abroad, it’s time to put down the pizza, get out of your room and start making some new friends!

What methods have you tried to make friends abroad? Were they successful?

6 thoughts on “How To Make Friends Abroad”

  1. HI I am a retired senior from the USA who enjoys solo travel abroad. I find SHARING makes friends such as sharing local maps/guide books or food when in a hostel setting. Being a good listener with new people sharing travel tales also works no matter what ages!

    1. Hi Carol, I really like that idea of sharing. Its great to help each other out with sharing things you no longer need such as maps/ guide books..

  2. Thanks for this post, there are a couple of things I might try! Language schools gets two birds with one stone. It makes you some acquaintances while learning to interact more with your environment, making you feel less alienated.

    1. You’re right, one of the best ways to discover a new city is meeting the locals and getting them to take you to all the hidden gems and spots that the locals go to that the tourists don’t know about!

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