If you are facing the prospect of starting expat life in your 40s, or indeed moving to another new country, you may be asking yourself how you will meet new people and friends. Indeed, worries of these nature are inevitable in this situation. You might feel that this will be harder for you than some of your counterparts. After all, if you have children, it’s not likely that you’ll be hitting all the local bars on a regular basis. You may begrudge the twenty-somethings expats, assuming that they find it much easier to meet new people, but that doesn’t have to be the case!There are plenty of options available to you to meet new people and forge strong friendships that will make your time as an expat thoroughly enjoyable. We’ve created a guide that can give you a helping hand if you’re stuck for ideas on how to meet new people, socialize, and make new friends in your chosen country.
Gyms And Health Spas
Consider getting a membership for your local gym or health spa. Not only will it be beneficial for your health, but you can also potentially meet lots of other people, especially if you sign up to some fitness classes such as spinning, cardio circuits, zumba or yoga. If you go to the same classes on a regular basis, you will undoubtedly start seeing some familiar faces and be able to build friendships that can progress to outside the gym.
Schools usually have a committee or school board that parents can join. This will give you the opportunity to get involved with the community, have a say in the running of your children’s school, and will give you a chance to practice your language skills. Some schools organize and host social and networking events, ranging from cocktail parties and quiz nights to karaoke or kids’ and parents’ painting classes.
Church And Church Clubs
You will find churches and various other religious establishments all over the world. These offer a place to meet other like-minded people in your community, who will be a mixture of expats and locals. Even if you’re not particularly religious, clubs or tea and coffee mornings held at your local church could provide an opportunity to meet new people.
Social Media And Websites
Don’t overlook the power of social media! You can join Facebook groups for expats which can help you with queries, connect with people in your area via Instagram or Twitter, utilize websites such as meetup.com or take a look at the events section on couchsurfing.com. Try looking for expat blogs. Leave comments and interact with the author and the other readers. Who knows, this may open some doors!
Try signing up for language classes for the country you are living in. Even if you consider yourself fairly proficient, you may find that the local dialect in the region where you are living could throw a spanner in the works in terms of your language comprehension. A few classes certainly wouldn’t hurt, and they will give you the opportunity to meet other people in your area who are in the same boat.
Hobby Classes And Workshops
If you are confident with your language abilities, then perhaps try finding some local hobby classes or workshops such as art and crafts or writing and poetry. These will give you a chance to hone your language skills whilst meeting people with similar interests. For something totally different, perhaps try courses in silver smithing, leather work or wood work. Ask in your local cafés, community centers, or corner shops, and check notice boards to see if anything interesting is taking place in your area.
Getting involved in the local community by volunteering is not only for a worthy cause, but can also open up some opportunities for socializing. You will be working closely with other people on a common goal, which can create a close knit group of people. Additionally, you are likely to meet a variety of people, including expats and local people who want to help their community.
Join A Team
If you don’t want to purchase a gym membership but you do enjoy a particular sport, such as football, look into local clubs. Football, rugby, golf and cricket are all popular in many areas of the world, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a club near you. Joining a club is a perfect opportunity to meet people with similar interests and hobbies to yourself, and can open up some new social networks.
Join A Club
As above, jogging, running, walking and rambling are all popular pastimes all around the world. Joining a running club can help you to meet new people whilst getting to know the local area around your town or city. Joining a club for hiking or rambling will get you out and about to see more of the countryside of your new home that you might not have necessarily had time explore on your own.
We hope this guide has given you some practical tips and useful ideas on how to make friends abroad in your 40s. Hopefully after reading this, you will feel more optimistic about settling in and assimilating into local life in your new country. We hope that the transition goes smoothly and wish you the best experience during your expat journey!
Do you have any tips for other expats who want to make friends abroad? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!