I would say that one of the best opportunities that the expat life gives you is the number of friends from several nationalities that you will have. My first experience as an expat took me to live in the city of Villahermosa, in the state of Tabasco in México.
I was lucky because I found a Venezuelan friend that had been living in Villahermosa with her family for a couple of years. She gave me a warm welcome introducing me to several of her acquaintances through different activities to which she invited me. I specially remember the meeting at some international women’s club. They were doing some raffles and I won three times in a row receiving some beautiful gifts. I remember this in a very special way because I’m not that lucky. This good fortune was like a revelation for me. So, I took it as a good prediction of what would be my life in that warm city in southern México.
My circle of friends exponentially grew thanks to my friend and the affection from Mexican people inspired me to keep multiplying the number of people that would become my new family far away from my home country. I never imagined that it would be so easy to feel at home thanks to these wonderful people. Neither did I imagine that I would come to have so many friends from so many different nationalities to build a wonderful network of mutual support.
This very special experience gave me the strength to make friends on the next international moving. Today, it’s really easy for me to meet new people, to give them my support and to know that I can count on them.
The friends that I have been making during more than eight years keep moving from country to country. Sometimes, I have had the opportunity to meet them again in another country. I am proud to say that I have Colombian friends living in Argentina and Canada, friends from India living in Houston, Argentinian friends living in Switzerland, Venezuelan friends living in Dubai and much more. The best part is that thanks to the internet and social networks, our friendship remains intact and we keep giving each other support across all borders every time we need it.
If you want a more pleasant expat lifestyle, I invite you to make friends. Overcome shyness, false judgment or beliefs. Stop feeling afraid and begin to connect with those around you. I promise you that you’ll receive some nice surprises and it will help you to stop feeling like a fish out of water.
There are so many ways to make friends: Becoming closer to your neighbor, talking with that person that you find everyday in the park while walking your pet, talking with other parents at your children’s school, paying a membership at the local gym, going to your church in your new city, joining the book club at your local public library or taking classes for a new hobby.
It doesn’t matter in what way you make new friends, the goal is to connect with people with whom you share similar interests. The goal is to create meaningful relationships that will turn your life journey into a special adventure.