If as a kid you’ve ever had to change school in the middle of a school year, then you’re familiar with the confusion that comes next. Having to make new friends, finding the best spot on playground, knowing what cliques to avoid and trying to belong. It can be a lot to handle. Yet what’s really wild is having to do the same thing as an adult.
While you may not change schools as an adult, you may move abroad and be the new kid all over again. You might have said several times that you don’t need a social life. You say things like, “I’m only here for my Master’s program” or “I only came to seek better opportunities”. And yes, you’re correct, but there’s a possibility that you’re speaking out of fear.
Be open minded. They don’t know you. You don’t know them. And this means you may have to work on your first impressions. A new person might not be as forgiving of your mistakes. This doesn’t mean that you have to fake it, but be cautious of the manner you speak and treat others. Be firm but kind. Remember, you probably need this more than need to. Be ready to meet new people.
Ask questions. You’re in a new environment whose culture dictates independence. If you don’t ask, no one probably know you’re lost. Forget about romantic comedies. You will miss your train stop if you snooze. Invite people over. This will cost you, but might be a good sacrifice to pay for loneliness. You can make it whatever you want. A mini party, games night or you can even offer to cook whatever suits you. Allow yourself to be invited over.
That is, join a community, a book club, a group of people from your country, or a religious organisation or volunteer for an NGO. Opt for whichever warms your heart and makes you feel at home the most. Embrace the loneliness. We know that it might seem a bit contradictory to what we’ve been saying, but a continuous search might put pressure on your mental health, find something you can do alone.
Visit monuments, spend time in the library, take a cooking class, learn how to drive. Who knows? You can even make a friend from there. And if you’re on a student visa, you might even get the opportunity to travel with the rest of Europe. In the end, there’s no substitute for immersing yourself wherever you are. Go out and see the world around you.
Here are some suggestions, clubbing, go check out a bar, if your safety is guaranteed, you could go for a house party, you can plan your own party or you can download a dating app and meet new people. If you meet someone interesting or someone you think you like on a dating app, you can take it a step further and plan a physical date. For physical dates, it is recommended take enough to foot your bills. Going Dutch in countries like the UK is a norm and you don’t want to tell stories that touch. Like the story of Igwe Udeh, who moved from Nigeria to Louisiana in the United States, in embracing the cowboy culture that he had seen in movies back home, he was able to create a new story for himself. You’ve got this we’re rooting for you.
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