Jun 6, 2019

How to make new international friends

Studying abroad is a huge step in one’s life. It's not something that everyone can do, but if you are one of the brave ones, then you are lucky. When studying abroad, a new chapter in your life begins and you can be anyone you want to be. You get to write your own story. You can remain the same person or you can try changing something. But whatever you opt for, the key to to make new friends abroad success is just to be YOU.

Don’t be shy and don’t worry about others judging you– after all you are all in the same situation. The best part when studying abroad is the new friends you make. So go ahead and meet people! Nowhere else do you get to know so many people from different countries. Despite different backgrounds, cultures and ways of being raised, in an international university, they will end up being your friends.

Everyone is put in the same shoes
You should not be afraid that you won’t be able to socialize and find friends – everyone is put in the same shoes, everyone knows how difficult it is to live in a completely different country. The result is:  everyone is friendly and open to you and to new adventures – which includes you. If you can’t find your place on your own, there will always be someone ready to help you. No one will judge you. So don’t be afraid. Try it and you will see that you won’t regret it.

When I arrived here I was scared.I first thought that I wouldn’t make it, that this wasn’t for me, that I was too shy. But none of those fears came true. I succeeded in surpassing my shyness and I made some great friends. It wasn’t at all as scary as I thought it will be. After I got used to the new environment, I opened up and was able to be me. I am glad I did.

But how?

  • Housemates
    The first friendships that I’ve made were with my housemates. When I arrived I lived in a house with 5 other students: 3 from Bulgaria, one from Poland and one from the Netherlands. Due to the time we spent together cooking, shopping for groceries, and doing household cares  we got to know each other more and to become really good friends. From this first house, I moved to another one where I met further amazing people from even more diversified countries(Germany, Lithuania, but also Romania) with whom I get to share this wonderful experience with.
  • At school
    Friendships are not only made at home. University is the next place to be listed. During the introduction week you get the chance to meet so many new people that you won’t even be able to remember all their names or the countries that they come from. It took me a whole week to remember them. I got to meet students from different programs and study semesters that were kind enough to guide us and to take care of us during that week and I am glad to say that we still keep in touch and at least once a week we all meet and have fun.
  • Other ways to get to know people
    Sign up for a student association (they organise great parties and activities) and look for possibilities within the school (there are always multiple options!).

The cool thing about making international friendships
•    getting to know more about other countries and cultures;
•    learning a few words in other languages;
•    visiting other countries while visiting your new friends;
•    finding a friendship that will last for a life time;
•    starting valuing and appreciating ways of life that differ from yours and your home country;
•    adapting the new situations and, consciously or unconsciously, learning and growing.

It is said that the longest friendships that you could have are made during university. Making new friends is worth the risk. If you had the courage to change your life by deciding to study abroad, have also the courage to build new friendships. Now, how about hopping in the adventure and starting the journey toward discovering yourself and others?

Are you thinking about studying abroad in the Netherlands? Have a look at this whitepaper below. This explains how the Dutch Education system works. 

The Dutch Education System explained: studying abroad.