The focus of the article we are publishing today from the Wall Street Journal is making new friendships, a vital step for expats. Have a great read!
MAKING NEW FRIENDS when you change countries is a necessity: Social integration is vital to successful expat experiences. Yet many expats struggle to make new friends. Whether due to language barriers, confusing social norms, or a work schedule that leaves little time for social activity, expats who don’t connect with people in their new locale are at risk of social isolation.
Curiosity, openness and a willingness to put yourself in sometimes new and uncomfortable situations (like getting together with people whose language you don’t share) are the expat’s most important tools for making friends. Strategies that worked at home may not work in your new culture. For instance, in some cultures, people don’t necessarily form friendships with work colleagues. If that’s how you’ve established friendships in the past, you’ll need to try out some new methods.
“Go with an open mind and an adventurous spirit and realize this won’t be like it was at home,” recommends American life coach Lisa Wojahn, who moved to Moscow with her husband and youngest daughter in 2012. Her interest in all things Russian helped her form a close friendship with the driver her husband’s employer provided (even though he spoke no English and she spoke almost no Russian), whom she describes as “a great cultural ambassador” and “like family.” (Read more)
Photo: The hands of friendship – iStock