The memories that you make while abroad will last a lifetime. The people you will meet will leave a mark in your heart forever. The friendships and relationships that you gain while abroad will change your life. But making new friends and meeting new people can sometimes be scary. What can you do to prepare yourself to make your next best friend?
1. Don't be afraid of differences
This might be the first time in a different Country. You could be immersing yourself in a new language, a new culture and a new way of thinking. Even though it's different than what you are used to, don't be afraid of the change. Try to embrace it! The point of going abroad and teaching English isn't just to help kids learn English but it can also be about learning and experiencing a new country. Just lose yourself in the excitement of the adventure. Try new activities and foods. You might discover new interests that you didn’t even know existed.
2. Get together with other teachers
You will see and work with other teachers every day. Whether they are other foreigners or locals, they will be one of your biggest help. The local teachers can have super helpful insights when teaching. Perhaps you will have a "trouble" kid and you don’t know how to handle them. Well, the teachers will most likely know what to do because they have been teaching those kids a lot longer than you have. If you are interested in learning the language then becoming friends with the other teachers is crucial! If you are friends with the other teachers you allow yourself to be surrounded by the language. This way makes it easy for you to practice speaking with them. They will most likely want to practice their English with you so it's a win-win situation!
4. Travel with someone
You will have plenty of time to travel and it's so much more fun to travel with someone than to travel alone. One way to find a travel buddy is to stay in hostels. They may not be the best glamorous accommodations, but they are very cheap and the hostel guests and visitors are often very engaging and easy to talk to. They are also more open to making new friends. At hostel you will surround yourselves with people who are traveling like you. It's a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
5. Get involved with something your passionate about
Again, you have to try new things. Keep trying things until you find things that you really like to do. Once you get to that point, you surround yourself with people who have the same interests as you. It then becomes easier to talk to people you don't know because you instantly have something to talk about. When you surround yourself with people who enjoy doing the same things as you then your adventure abroad becomes more enjoyable.
3. Meet the Locals
Even though you won't necessarily know the language, don’t be afraid to talk to the local people. Be involved and interested in the way they live. Don’t be afraid of talking to them and making mistakes. They will think very highly of you that you are willing to try to talk to them. And they will also put a lot of effort into talking to you. The locals will be your best friends. They will help you know where to go if you get lost. They will let you know what foods you should try. They will know what beautiful places you must see.
Not only can you have the people you meet as friends while abroad, but you can keep them as friends when you go home. The local teachers and other people I met while abroad are still my friends today. I am able to talk to them through Skype or other apps and have even had the opportunity to visit them again or have them visit me in America. I could never forget the friends that I have met while abroad and I know that we will stay friends for a very long time!