Studying abroad can be a very enriching and stimulating journey of cultural discovery. However, it can often be hard for exchange students studying abroad to get used to the cultural traditions and customs of their new surroundings. The foreign country often uses its own language and modes of interaction that the student may not be accustomed to. Below is a list that can help any student participating in a study abroad
program make new friends while studying in a foreign country and make the most of their opportunity to expose themselves to a new culture and new friends.
Where to Start
When arriving at your destination country, it is important to establish a mindset for meeting new people and making friends. It is important to keep an open mind about meeting people and being active in trying to meet new friends. In addition, the first group of people that the student will come into contact with is probably the group of students that are also participating in a study abroad program. This can prove to be a valuable and enriching group of friends for the student, since they often come from a variety of different geographic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
Making friends during study abroad programs may be a lot like making friends at university in general. Try to take advantage of any activities and organized events where there is potential for meeting new people, whether they are other international students or local students. Be ready to actively introduce yourself to people to make your first impression. There are a lot of topics that international students can ask other international students or local students about, such as the local culture, language and customs, or even local food. The important thing is for students to really take advantage of the social gatherings that have been established for students to meet each other.
Things to Keep in Mind
As an international student, it always pays to be mindful of local culture and inquire locals about any unusual behavior that is shunned upon. Most people will respond positively if asked in a polite manner. Also, international students should be mindful of their surroundings and always ensure their personal safety. This may mean always making sure that someone knows their location and plans, and trying to avoid expensive jewelry that may attract unnecessary attention.
Meet the Locals!
One of the most culturally enriching opportunities for an exchange student is for them to meet and interact with the locals of the area. This can be done at a variety of places, such as coffee shops, popular diners, or shopping centers. The most important thing is to remain polite and respectful towards the local culture and customs when it comes up as a topic of conversation. It may also be worthwhile to learn some essential words in the local language to make communication easier.
Meeting new friends from other countries is one of the most valuable parts of any study abroad program, but students need to be aware of some essential guidelines and methods of interaction. With this advice in mind, students can fully realize the benefits and opportunities granted to them by the chance to study abroad.