The bags and boxes are unpacked. School and work have begun. Now it is time to have some fun! School-aged kids can just go to class, find others with common interests and soon they are comingling with their new bff’s. But it is more complicated than that for adults to make new friends. Thankfully, technology makes it easy to locate others with common interests and backgrounds.
Meeting in cyberspace
The Internet is an excellent way to get the lay of the land before actually stepping onto it. You can do your research in the privacy of your home to find like-minded people from your neck of the woods. (Please practice cyber-safety and always be careful about providing identifying information- you just can’t be too careful these days!)
One of the most powerful websites for a keyword search is www.google.com. By typing in “British expat” over 800,000 results come up, including britishexpats.com. Not from Great Britain? Try these other variations for your search on the Internet:
- (Your town/country) expat community groups in (US city/state)
- (Your town/country) expat organizations in (US city/state)
- (Your town/country) expat in (US city/state)
The following sites offer directories or forums that list places you can go to meet other expats:
- Internations.org– complete a short application to gain entry into the free portion of this site to look into guides and forums in your new city. This site also has city guides to help find apartments, restaurants and more. A minimal fee per months gives access to more information, but the free basic membership is fairly robust in itself.
- Expatforum.com– with country-specific forums and articles and over 60,000 members worldwide, this site gives access to others who have already relocated to your destination.
- Figt.org– offers cross-cultural education and training to support the entire ex-pat family. Free articles and information are listed in the resource center.
- Expat-blog.com– touted as the living abroad website by expats for expats, simply choose your continent and then find country and city-specific information including leisure activities and more.
Meeting in reality
The Internet is great for a preliminary search, but eventually you will want to meet people face to face. “Let your fingers do the walking” is the catch-phrase of The Yellow Pages directory and it is as easy as that to find local expat groups. You can look in the book alphabetically for your country or city to find local groups from your area. To find expats in your new town consider looking up or going to the following:
- Libraries- go to the information desk and ask a librarian for help to find what you are looking for, including the local Yellow Pages directory. Libraries also offer lectures and other events that are often free or low-cost.
- Local colleges or universities– their country-specific clubs can yield alumni in your age-range if you are past college age.
- Work- it doesn’t hurt to compare notes with others who have recently relocated about how they meet people socially and spend their free time.
- Churches, synagogues and other religious groups in the area
- Retail establishments that serve your country’s cuisine and wares
- Cultural events and shows
With a little research and some determination you can meet other expats in your new neighborhood. All it takes is a little time, some creative searching and soon you will have a new school of fish to swim with on the U.S. side of the pond