41% of all those surveyed advised that this was a key concern for them prior to and initially following their relocation abroad…highlighting just how important it is for us all to have friends and social contact.
By moving abroad we leave many friends and our social support cushion behind – we also throw ourselves open to the challenges that inevitably come with moving to a new and perhaps unknown nation. Challenges that would be so much easier to deal with if only we had friends in place to share them with!
This Catch 22 situation affects the vast majority of expats…but there is a very simple way to deal with this issue – and that’s to tackle it head on. There are no short cuts to re-establishing a social life, you just have to get out there and get on with it.
Expats can do research in advance to determine whether there are the likes of expat clubs, sports, arts or social clubs locally in their new nation that they could become a member of. Such research can be done online, via expat forums and social networking sites.
Those who fail to find anything in advance of their relocation can ask their new colleagues at work or even their new neighbours for information or advice about what’s going on – they can also literally look around on lampposts, on notice boards or in the local newspaper to find out what’s going on where.
Expats can also frequent the local hostelries and cafes and reach out to make friends. Expats have to make an effort to find friends and no, it really isn’t easy. Persistence pays however, and if you make the effort you will slowly but surely meet like-minded people and make friends.
If you’re really struggling, why not think about setting up your own event or meeting, group or club? Use all of the above-mentioned methods to get the word out about what you’re doing and then hopefully potential friends will come to you.