Moving overseas is something I always needed to do.
I had it in my bones from a young age that I wanted to experience what it was like living in another country, other than the one I was born and grew up in, Australia.
Australia is an amazing country and I highly recommend anyone to go and visit and, if you get the chance, to live there. So many people wonder why on earth I’ve moved from such an incredible country to the UK, but for me, the answer is simple.
I love learning about new cultures, learning new languages, travelling to new countries and meeting new people.
So in mid 2015, my partner and I made the move to England and we haven’t looked back since.
The one thing we struggled with when moving over, was how to meet friends. It really dawned on us, if you’re not studying, or if you work from home, how do you actually meet people?! We’ve always joked that it’s not like we can walk over to another couple in a coffee shop and say, hey, want to go for a drink?! I mean, I guess you could, you never know, they might be in the same situation as you, but these days you just wouldn’t do that.
They say sometimes it can be harder to meet friends when you move overseas as a couple, and I can totally see why. You become so used to each other’s company and kind of get lazy. You end up having less desire to go and meet people because you feel like you don’t need to, you have each other.
When you move overseas as a single person, you have to force yourself to get out there, network and meet people. Otherwise being in another country all alone can be very isolating and lonely.
Although my partner and I were the ‘lazy’ couple for a while and didn’t put ourselves out there to meet friends at first, we have now. Through different ways we have met some incredible people, who we know, will be lifelong friends.
If you’re planning to make the move overseas and are wondering how to meet people, or if you’ve already moved over and are struggling to make just even one friend, I want to give you some networking tips and app suggestions, such as Badoo (a must-download for the single traveller), to make the process a little bit easier for you.
Whether you’ve moved over as a couple, with friends, or by yourself, these tips will help. Some of them we’ve personally used, and others, I’ve heard, really help too.
Talk to people
Probably the best first tip to give – TALK. TO. PEOPLE.
Don’t be afraid to start conversations with people. Yes, I mentioned above, ‘as if you can go over to a random table of people and start chatting?!’ But why can’t you?! Be stronger than me and do it! If a glass of wine (I’d recommend only one glass in this instance, so you don’t start slurring your words – not a good first impression!) gives you a little boost in confidence, then go for it!
My partner and I always chat to people who work at restaurants and cafes. We’ve not only met people from our local area, we’ve met people from around the world from countries such as Spain, Poland, and even fellow Australians. Creating conversations with people is so good for the soul and you never know, they may end up becoming your bff.
As I work from home by myself, I love heading to my local coffee shop to sit and work for an hour or so. The new environment and the good coffee, are wonderful, but as I now know the people who work there, I go in for a good chat and catch up too! It definitely helps me get through my day.
Looking for dates? App it
With the amazing miracle of technology, apps are now a fantastic and very handy way to make connections.
Badoo is one of the most useful apps around at the moment, especially if you’re a single ex-pat! As the biggest dating app in the world, they are the go-to for anyone looking for love.
Tim and I met the old-fashioned way, before dating apps were a massive thing, so I have to admit I haven’t had experience with this kind of app. Everyone I know who’s single however, now uses apps to find love or companionship, so I definitely believe they’re an incredible (and futuristic) way to meet people.
As they have over 300 million users world-wide, Badoo is SO handy for single people who have just moved overseas. You can safely search for people in your area, so much so, by simply using their ‘Bumped Into’ feature, you can even find out who you crossed paths with that day – whether you were at a coffee shop, doing some retail therapy, or even just walking down the street. How cool is that?!
Once you’ve found someone you want to talk to and you’ve matched, you can chat away! With a ‘Rich’ profile you can get to know the person you’re chatting to more, by hearing their laugh, watching their videos and checking out their Instagram photos. This is perfect if you want to know more about the person before you meet!
So why not sign up and get yourself out there. You never know, you may find your future hubby/wife or bff in the new country you’ve moved to, hello exotic!
Network, network, network
Reach out to your friends to see if they know of anyone who lives where you’re moving.
It could be a direct friend, a friend of a friend, a work colleague, family – just ask and see! They may be able to introduce you directly or pass on their email for you to contact them.
If you have started a new job, get to know your colleagues. If they organise a night out, make sure you go! People who I have met through previous jobs have become some of my best friends, so making friends with your colleagues is always good fun.
Another tip – Look for networking events in your area and go to them! Whether it’s an event in the area you specialise, a meet-up for fellow ex-pats, a launch event for a brand or venue, or even an event through your work, attend! You never know who you may meet.
My friend gave me one piece of advice she always stands by at networking events, and that is to talk to at least one new person. Easy, right?!
Another modern new way of meeting people.
As I utilise Instagram as a major part of my business, I’ve managed to meet so many people on it, some who I’m now incredibly close to. If they look like your kind of person and you’ve been engaging with them for a while (liking and commenting on each other’s pictures), then why not try and shoot them a direct message to introduce yourself, it’s as simple as that. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them!
I now have contacts from not only where I live, but all over the globe, and I regularly message and catch up with them when I’m close by.
Start a class
Whatever you’re into, whether it’s yoga, French, vegan food, think about what you like doing or work out what you’d like to learn about, and enrol yourself into a class.
Getting into a new environment will allow you to not only enjoy a social atmosphere and break up the week, it’s also a sure bound way to meet people. If you’ve been wanting to start yoga, pilates or boxing, learn how to speak French or Japanese, or find out how to cook a certain cuisine, like Italian (yum, this one is definitely for me!), why not look for classes in your area.
Once you’re at the class, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you, or have a chat with the teacher, don’t be shy.
Social interaction is really important for humans to experience. Loneliness can be crippling otherwise. So, if you’ve moved to a new country recently or are about to, make sure you try at least one of these tips. Making friends with new people around the world, opens you up to new life experiences and broadens your horizons. I love all the new friends I’ve made from living overseas, and I’m so excited to meet even more!
Just think, how cool would it be to have someone to go and visit on every corner of the earth. Pretty fab, if you ask me!
Editor’s note: This article was sponsored by Badoo, however all creative direction, words, opinions are my own.