Moving thousands of miles away from your friends can be hard. Making the effort to make new friends in a brand new country is even harder. Where do you even start? Well, the best part of coming to the US for college is that everybody is on the same boat. Unless they’re going to school in their hometown, all Freshman students just moved away from home, leaving their friends and families behind to expand their horizons and have a fresh start. Still, making new friends when you have a cultural barrier in between can be tough. These are some tips that we think will help you in the search of your bffs.
Join A Student Organization. This is the BEST way to meet new people and make lasting relationships with fellow students. If you join a student organization in an area that you’re interested in, you will be surrounded by like-minded individuals – making it way easier to connect and bond over your commonalities. Some of our best friends were made by being members of certain clubs that aligned with our personal and professional goals.
Volunteer. In addition to helping a cause that you’re passionate about, volunteering will block a few hours on your schedule where you can interact with other students in your area and potentially build lasting friendships. By staying busy and donating your time to non-profits, you will not only feel like you’re making a difference but you will also feel like you’re part of a community.
Just Do It. A lot of international students struggle with the social cues in American society. In some countries, introducing yourself to a stranger and starting a conversation is not common, and sometimes not acceptable. So, many of us tend to hide in a corner and avoid interaction until someone interacts with us. The best way to meet people in the US is to meet people in the US. Talk to the person next to you in class. Talk to the person behind you in line at your campus coffee shop. You never know who you might meet and what a casual conversation can turn into. Remember, you’re in a new country now and the rules are different.
Don’t Force It. This is the most important piece of advice we can give you. If you’ve been hanging out with someone, or a group of people, that you don’t think you’re clicking with – do not force it. Always be polite, but stop hanging out with them if it doesn’t feel right. It’s very common for students to get caught up in groups of people they don’t relate to or fit in with simply due to fear of being alone. But we promise you – the wait to find a crew that feels right is so worth it. And hanging out with them will feel effortless and fun.
Have Patience. Similar to the point above, do not rush to find your core group of friends. These things take time and you will much rather find the right group of people your Senior year than spend all four years surrounded by people you don’t really love.
Be The Connector. College can be a hard place to find a crew because it seems like you’re surrounded by different people all day. If you feel like you have individual friends but are struggling to find a core group of friends – be the one to bring all of them together. Throw a pregame party, organize a trip to the movies, or invite a few friends to go to a concert with you. You never know who will get along until they’re all in the same room. And making plans via group text is so much easier than texting fifteen people individually.