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Monthly Wrap: How to make local connections as an expat

currency-newsMonthly Wrap: How to make local connections as an expat
Through new experiences, moving abroad can allow you to broaden your perspective and develop your opinions on a variety of subjects.

However, in doing so, you are leaving behind your family and friends which can leave expats feeling lonely in a foreign country.

To combat loneliness, and to truly appreciate your new surroundings, it’s important to make new connections.

Friendships play a vital role in life, not only reducing loneliness, but also prevents unhealthy lifestyle choices and generally makes you happier.

6 ways to make connections with new people as an expat:

Join a club

Find out what organisations are arranged in the local area, and when and where they meet.

It’s likely there will be at least one club or organisation in the area that you’ll have an interest in – and if not, then try something new!

This could include a book club, a sports club or a crafty club, such as pottery.

A shared experience is the most common method to make friends. Thus, by participating in a club that you’re interested in, you will instantly meet likeminded individuals with whom you already have something in common.

The more clubs you join, the more people you will meet and the more connections you will make in your new home.

Participate in events

Research what events are being held in your local area and attend as many as possible – both in and out of your comfort zone.

Could you push yourself to compete at a local competition? Or attend a charity-organised event? Maybe join a knit-a-thon?

There are always events happening, and likewise to joining a club, an event will be filled with similar-minded individuals that you could spark a conversation with.

In this setting, it is important to be friendly and to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid of making the first move to start a conversation.

Meet your neighbours

Make an effort with you neighbours – after all, it’s good to know who’s around in an emergency.

By getting to know those you’ll see regularly, it also makes you more connected with your local community.

As well as being practical, it enables you to meet people who aren’t necessarily the ‘join-a-club’ type, or don’t have time for such a commitment.

Just because you don’t have a pre-determined topic to discuss as you would by meeting at a club or event, doesn’t mean you won’t build a close friendship.


Volunteering is an excellent method of meeting new people. This is because you will spend time with the same people on a regular basis and gives you the opportunity to get to know them on a deeper level.

By volunteering, you can choose what field you would like to support – such as an animal rescue – and will enable you to meet others with a similar passion.

Volunteering also gives you the chance to get to know those in the local area, can stimulate you, both physically and mentally, and gives you a good reputation.


It may feel a little daunting to put yourself out there, however in the era of technology, you can utilise the virtual world to converse with those who are also looking to make new connections.

This can be achieved through a multitude of means.

One method would be to join online expat groups and to get to know other expats living in the area. This will enable you to meet those who understand how you’re feeling and are going through the same or similar experiences. However, a downside to this is that expats are often moving around, so some of these connections may be short-lived.

Another method is to use apps designed to help you connect with others.

Remember to meet these people in real life though, and not to keep these potential friendships online.

Say ‘Yes!’

It can be easy to quickly fall into a routine, whilst stepping out of routine can be incredibly difficult.

However, after all the work you’ve put in to make connections, following the above guidelines, saying yes to an invitation can make huge strides in helping you create more meaningful relationships with others.

If somebody that you volunteer with or met at a club asks you to get coffee, say yes!
Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.

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