One of the advantages of studying abroad is the opportunity to build a network of international friends and acquaintances who can give you tips and information on further studies as well as career opportunities across the globe. Though it might take a bit of an effort to break the ice and make friends with local as well as other foreign students – the benefits are well worth it. In this article we provide effective tips for international students to help improve their social life at college and build lasting friendships.
Try to meet a variety of people
Whereas it is natural tendency to seek out people from your home country, we advise you to reach out and connect with local students and residents as well. You can do this by going to parties and other social events. If you share a work or study space with other students, you can play songs that mutual favorites and discuss common interests like college sports, celebrities, etc to break the ice and build camaraderie.
Feel free to invite your classmates and contemporaries students to special occasions (birthdays and anniversaries) or festivals you celebrate, help them learn about your culture, and don’t be shy to attend their events if invited. Be open-minded about making friends and don’t let any initial teething troubles deter you.
Be Proud of Your Difference
When in an alien country it is inevitable that on a few occasions you may feel you are sticking out like a sore thumb, but don’t be scared or apologetic for being different, rather be proud of it. Life is for learning and the fact that you are open-minded and brave enough to have enrolled at a school in a foreign country should give you the confidence to explore forge some highly rewarding friendships. People by nature are curious and adventurous – in varying degrees, as an ambassador of your country and culture, get them interested their positive aspects. You will be surprised as to how much people all over the world have in common – cherish the similarities and celebrate the differences.
Speak and Enunciate Slowly
Don’t be afraid that you have an “accent” and feel that communicating with the local and resident population would be a bit tedious. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly so that others do have not trouble understanding your words. Everybody will appreciate the effort you are taking to communicate and will be motivated to reciprocate.
Take part on group activities
Utilize weekends and holidays to form a group of willing students to go sightseeing around the city and even to other towns and cities. You can use the opportunity to form close friendships with like-minded peers in the group. So get information about local museums, zoos and other places of attraction and take the initiative to invite your fellow students to form a group to visit these places. You can pool in resources like cash, cars, food etc. so that everybody contributes their mite to the group activity.
Join a Club or Organization
At the beginning of the college year, find out about the organizations and clubs at your college, make it a point to find the time to join and be an active participant in those that interest you. For example, if you are interested in quizzing, debating or any other activity, join the relevant clubs to pursue your interest and make friends with like-minded students. Keep a watch for flyers and posters about various clubs and ask your acquaintances too about the extracurricular interests they pursue. You are bound to find something interesting for yourself.
You may have often heard the term “Global Village” an integral part of this “village” are global citizens, businesses are increasingly looking at professionals who have global networks along with global credentials. Going to college in a foreign country is a wonderful opportunity for you to be a part of this new world order, make friends and acquaintances across cultures. An opportunity you would not have if you stayed at home. So shed your shyness and grab the chance with both hands to form a network of like-minded peers at college to boost your social life and create networks to further your studies as well as professional opportunities.