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Expat Tips: Invest in Friendships

Moving abroad is challenging on its own, and having to establish a new friend network can add to the difficulty. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but if we don’t invest in friendships, it can be a huge mistake. A friend is someone you have a connection with and someone who is there to support you in times of need. When living abroad, we could definitely all use a friend.


Challenging but Worth It

When you first move abroad, there is so much going on that making friends might be the last thing on your list. As Lauren and Samuele mention, you may be busy with your new job and other responsibilities, and you might feel like you have no time to make friends. However, this can be a huge mistake as having friends in your new city can really improve your quality of life as an expat. So, it is important to spend a little bit of your time investing in friendships. Perhaps you could attend a gathering with your work colleagues or look for a social event that is happening in your area. Whatever way you do it, investing in friendships will definitely benefit you in the long run.

A Shoulder to Lean On

As many of us know, the expat journey is full of ups and downs, highlights and lowlights. Friends are there to celebrate all the good times with you, and you are sure to create amazing memories together. On a less positive note, everyone is bound to have a few struggles along the way, and if you’re going through these struggles alone, they may feel way worse than they are. Having a friend during these times is crucial. They can be a shoulder to cry on or even just someone you can let your feelings out to. They can give you advice and help you through any difficulties that you might be facing. You could also be that support for your friend, meaning you both have someone to lean on.

Friends, the Family You Choose

Friends are like the family you choose. If you are used to spending the holidays with your family but can’t travel back home to celebrate with them while living abroad, your friends can be your family away from home, as was the case with Lauren. Her friends were the ones she spent the holidays with when she couldn’t spend it with her family back home. Investing in friendships can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and homesickness that tend to come up during these times especially. When you’re missing your family, you can always turn to your friends for support and comfort. Beyond the holidays, your friends are also there to celebrate personal milestones with you, which means you don’t have to skip the celebrations just because you’re far from home.

Cultural Exchange

Investing in friendships while living abroad is also a great way to learn about different cultures. You might make friends with the locals, but also with other expats from around the world. So, not only can you discover a lot about your current home, you can also get to know different cultures. There is so much to learn from your friends about where they come from. Whether you share recipes from home or simply chat about what it’s like to live where you are from, there is so much new knowledge to be gained about different cultures. If you’re lucky, you might get to visit them in their home countries and experience their culture firsthand in the future!

A Long-Lasting Friendship

The friends you make while living abroad are friends for life. Although you may move back home or on to another country, they are somebody you can always keep in touch with and visit during future travels. Although my expat journey is soon coming to an end for the time being, I have already made plans with my friends to return to Munich to attend Oktoberfest. As well as that, we have plans to visit each other in our home countries. The benefits of investing in friendships while living abroad are endless, and it will improve your expat journey!


To see the rest of this ongoing video series with our resident expat expert Lauren, visit our Facebook page. There you can share your feedback with us or even ask for advice — we may just use your question as the starting point for the next video!

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