So, you’ve taken the big step of deciding to study a language abroad, you have everything ready: suitcase, passport, those´ just in case´ essentials…everything. It is at this point that you start worrying “How will I make new friends? I’m not going to know anyone! What if they don’t understand me?” but you mustn´t panic, here are some useful tips on how to get to know and socialise with people from other countries:
1) Be a bit daring
Don’t be scared, don’t let your nerves take over and stop you from maximising from the incredible experience of travelling to a foreign country and getting to know the people there. Of course it’s normal to feel a little nervous whilst embarking on this new and exciting experience and sometimes it’s difficult to take the first step when you have to break the ice with new people.
However there is no better way to learn a language than being fully immersed in the culture. Be open to meeting and socialising with new people and you’ll see how you manage to achieve your language goals at the same time as having a truly unforgettable and rewarding experience.
2) Getting to know people
Whilst studying in a foreign country, whatever language you are studying, it’s important that you develop your communicative skills because this is the main point of studying abroad as it is the best way to learn and improve in a language.
One of the best ways to socialise with the people you meet is to maintain a healthy balance between giving relevant and interesting information about yourself and showing an interest in and asking people about themselves. Getting to know your classmates and local people and their cultures means you will all learn from each other.
Tell people about your culture, customs and traditions but also about your daily routines, free time and hobbies. This will not only open the doors for learning a new language but also in the process you will be getting to know new people and having a rich and interesting cultural experience.
3) Grab each opportunity as they arise
You will be given many opportunities to interact with your classmates and local people. There will be a time and place for everything, academic and personal pursuits.
There will be interesting situations where not only are you learning and practising the language but also initiating contact with many new people who can share their different experiences and perspectives leading to fun and stimulating conversations.
4) Keep up to date
Take advantage of this experience to learn new things and update your knowledge. It is also a good idea to keep a record of your experiences on your social networks. Make friends on your social networks with the new people you meet.
You may not see them for a long once the course is finished and so why not stay in touch with them online. Not only in the short term will this help you to strike up friendships during the course but it also means that you can maintain long term contact with the people you meet and continue practising the language, continue reaching your goals, whilst maintaining your friendship.
5) Share your experience
Adding a bit more to the subject of social networks, in Ynsitu we can vouch for the positive outcomes that come from keeping your friends and followers informed on your new and exciting exploits . Share all the new and wonderful experiences that you have; photos, what you’re learning, your thoughts and insights of your positive experiences. This will help build a bigger and fuller picture of your trip and in turn will interest all with whom you´ve shared.
Whenever possible get the most out of what you´re doing but remember the famous quote from Alexander Supertramp from Into the Wild. “ Happiness is only real when it´s shared.” So, don´t be shy, share your daily experiences online, take a selfie with your classmates and teachers. There is a time and place for everything, grab those unique moments and share them.
We hope that this advice helps open a world full of opportunities and exciting experiences for you. The world is your oyster with Ynsitu!