Let’s be straight honest; going abroad means you all of a sudden feel like a freshman again. You don’t know anyone and you don’t know where anything is. Even though you already went through the terror and fear of freshman year, it seems much more stressful doing it again especially in another country. However, it ends up being much easier the “second” time around, or at least it was for me.
Knowing I would need people to talk to or hang out with while here, it was more or less my first priority to find someone within the first few days. I left my door open while I was in my room and would walk around the student housing village. In doing so I met two girls that first day who also happened to be exchange students from America both living in my hallway. Three months later, I have been lucky enough to still talk to them. But why do I say lucky? Well think about it; how many of the people you met during freshman year do you still consider a friend? Or are they simply an acquaintance, a friendly face but not someone you talk to anymore? Chances are your friend group now is far different from your friend group when you first started. That is what happens while abroad as well.
While I was lucky in how I met the two girls, I also met my other friends by just showing up at places. During the week between classes starting and students moving in there are a bunch of activities going on, people going into town, to the club, or having parties. Even if you aren’t big on drinking or partying that much, my advice is to still go to them. It is the easiest way to meet people and find friends. When someone asks if you want to go out with them, even if it’s just to the grocery store, say yes. It’ll help you learn the area as well as make friends. All the friends I have met while here are because I went to the parties going on, got peoples numbers, Snapchats, Instagrams, Facebooks, any kind of social media to then be able to contact each other. Many of these people I no longer talk to, let alone even see on campus. I look at the first picture I have while being here and of the people in the photo, there is only one that I have talked to and stayed friends with throughout the semester. My friend group here changed greatly from the first week and even changed again later in the semester.
I understand that it may feel like you’re being annoying by always contacting some people to see what’s going on or if they want to do something, but trust me it helps you find your group. One of the guys I became friends with was on a random chance. We were talking one night and the next day in the evening I messaged him as to what was going on (he lived in a different building). I did this the next few days and each time he told me what was up and I hung out with him and other people he had made friends with who soon became my friends as well. It is all because I reached out to him, I initiated the interaction and as a result found a group of people I liked and liked spending time with. On top of these guys, I also had another group of people I would talk to as well, but for the life of me I cannot say how I became friends with them. All I know is I would talk to them, whether they reached out to me or vice versa. Now, late in the semester, I hang out with them more than I do with the other group. It is normal. Your friend group changes, you meet knew people and start spending time with them more. Sound familiar? That’s because it is probably what happened during the first time around, aka your freshman year.
All I can say is don’t stress friendships. It’s much easier to find people than you will initially think. Take advantage of the offers handed to you; agree to go out with people, show up at the open parties, contact people, but don’t ever feel like you are being annoying because chances are these people are also scared about trying to find friends. No one knows you in this country so use it to your advantage.