Home Customized Faculty-Led How to Make Friends While Studying Abroad

How to Make Friends While Studying Abroad

@s.gittins and I at Stonehenge. If you wish to hear another perspective of a student studying abroad, then check out Sydney’s podcast “Hey, I’m Talking To You” on Spotify.

Last Updated on March 3, 2020 by AIFS Abroad Customized Faculty-Led

Friendship is difficult in the sense that not only do you have to figure out how to make friends, but also how to keep them. Which is arguably more difficult! Friendship is essentially putting your entire self out in the open, and then hoping that someone sees it and finds you worthy of their time. As someone who has struggled with making friends in the past, this entire concept boggles me.

 However, since coming to London I have decided that I have to put myself out there more and make friends. It has been difficult, but I feel that by opening myself to opportunities I have grown as a person, and made some life-long friendships. So today I thought I would share some of my top tips for making friends while abroad!

 Everybody Loves Compliments

I feel like this one is simple yet effective. A compliment such as “I like your shirt” or “I really liked your comment in class” goes a long way, and helps you give off a friendly and approachable vibe. One of my new friendships began because we both started complimenting each other.

@vanessa_mijares and I at Lealt Falls in Scotland

@vanessa_mijares and I at Lealt Falls in Scotland

Find Activities Provided by Your School

I met two of my dearest friends on this trip through a scavenger hunt that was organized by AIFS, and I could not be more grateful. I heard them talking about it in class, and deciding to put myself out there, asked them if I could join their team (which is something I never would have done back home). We had a great time and even won the scavenger hunt! I am so thankful for meeting them. 

@hannah_lipman, @karina_lochner, and I on top of Primrose Hill during our AIFS scavenger hunt

Find Friends In Your Classes

 This could be kind of obvious, but bare with me! Just because you share space with/live with/work with somebody, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily be friends. If you do find someone in this way and manage to become friends, that is great. However, look outside of your close surroundings. For example I met one of my very good friends at a field trip for class. We found out we had more than just the class in common and it’s great to have made a friend this way. 

@igetmonae_ and I at the Kelpies in Scotland

@igetmonae_ and I at the Kelpies in Scotland

Invite People To Do Things

Inviting people to do things can be daunting if you’re shy like me, but hear me out! On a whim, I hung out with a few girls that I didn’t know very well . Normally I wouldn’t have done this at home but we all got along really well. I decided to invite them out for my birthday and we went to Cambridge for the day. We had a great time and since then we have hung out a few time too. I was absolutely terrified of asking them to hang out with me, but I decided to swallow my fear and put myself out there, and it went well! 

@asiagobagel_ , @holly_urquhart , and I in Cambridge on my birthday

@asiagobagel_ , @holly_urquhart , and I in Cambridge on my birthday

Look Online for Events Relating to Your Interests

For this, I would recommend following different pages on Instagram and Facebook that relate to your interests. I follow museums, bookstores, and coffee shops because I know they post things relevant to what I am interested in. This is also a definite way to meet like minded people, because you know everyone at these events are interested in the same things you are.

@s.gittins and I at Stonehenge. Sydney hosts a podcast featuring topics from Veganism to Yoga!

@s.gittins and I at Stonehenge. Sydney hosts a podcast featuring topics from Veganism to Yoga!

Remember Everybody is Just as Nervous as You Are

Don’t be fooled by how confident somebody seems or how cool you think they are, everybody is nervous about being abroad. Everyone is thrown into a completely new place and situation, completely separated from everything you’ve ever known. Everybody is going to be nervous, awkward, and uncomfortable. At least at first! My suggestion is to wait a few days until everyone settles down a bit. This sounds difficult, and a tad lonely, but I recommend this as people’s true personalities will start to shine through. You should have a better idea of who you have things in common with and who you’ll get along with.

@golioliravioli and I in Scotland

@golioliravioli and I in Scotland


Isabella Selvitella is a student from the College of San Mateo, studying abroad in London, England through an AIFS Customized Faculty-Led program. Isabella has a passion for writing and travelling and is excited to explore both of these while in London this Fall. Keep checking back for future blogs posts here.

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1 comment

Ryan November 9, 2018 - 6:31 pm

I used to find it meeting new people awkward and forced but then believe it or not I grew almost 2 inches at 33 years old (used a program called heightify.com if your interested). Ever since people are MUCH more interested in me and my social circle has basically exploded.

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