Living Abroad: How to Make Local Friends

Getting in touch with locals is the most effective and fun way to learn new languages and to get along abroad. Locals can help you to experience your language travel in a totally different manner. They help you to experience the everyday life in your destination. They know best what’s important and special about their home country, and they’re surely ready to share their knowledge with you. Still, it is not always easy to meet locals, especially if your language skills are very basic. Here is some advice that helps you to get in touch with locals!

Join a Meetup

If you want to meet new people, but you’re not sure how to get started, you should have a look at, an international platform where people with common interests can meet. You can create your own meetup or choose from many different offers. There are language exchange groups for people who are interested in your native language in almost every city.

Find a Tandem Partner

Another method to improve your language skills is the Tandem Language Learning. Two people agree on helping each other by meeting and exchanging their language knowledge. Through face-to-face conversations, both partners can practice the language they want to learn. You will benefit from talking to native speakers and get their advise. To find a tandem partner, you can contact the international offices of your destination’s universities. They usually offer a language exchange program and might help you to find a partner. There are also lots of groups on Facebook which you can join to find someone who is interested in exchanging his or her language and culture.

Join a Local Sports or Music Club

If you are an active person and want to combine your language travel with your hobbies, getting involved in local Sports, Dancing or Music Clubs is a good option for you. It gives you the opportunity to interact with locals while you’re doing something you like. Ask at universities if you’re allowed to participate, usually you can go there even though you are not a student.


Visit Cultural Institutes

Cultural institutes offer a variety of cultural events like cinema, theatre, meetups and food festivals. These events will bring you together with new people. There are many institutes that focus on different countries and languages. One of the four biggest cultural institutes is the Goethe-Institute: if you are a German abroad, you should contact the Goethe-Institute to meet locals that are interested in your language and culture. The Alliance Francaise makes it possible to learn French in 33 European states. It offers workshops and French language courses. The British Council stands for international connections between Great Britain and other countries through education and culture, and the Instituto Cervantes can be helpful when it comes to learn more about Spain and the Spanish language abroad.


Meet with Locals

There’s no better way to get involved into a foreign culture than to meet with locals. With the rise of the sharing economy, quite a few new websites have appeared that will help you to get in touch with locals. These initiatives give you the chance to meet with locals that can show you around and let you explore their culture. It offers an awesome opportunity to make local friends and to discover hidden spots, that you wouldn’t find without the insider knowledge of locals.


Eat with Locals

If you’re the kind of traveler that likes to discover the cultural cuisine of a foreign country, you should consider to get to know locals while you’re eating with them. Websites like EatWith bring local chefs and travelers like you together. The platform organizes events like group dinner parties, and offers you many opportunities to join local activities. You’ll meet lots of people while enjoying great food in many beautiful cities.


Live with Locals

For short term stays, Couchsurfing is definitely a good option to get to know locals. If you are planning to stay a semester abroad you can join local Facebook groups or ask at the international offices of universities to find a shared flat with locals.


Spending time with your local friends and talking to them is definitely a great chance to improve your language skills and explore a new culture through their eyes. Your new friends will help you to get the most out of your stay abroad by helping you to experience their way of life and their culture. You just have to do the first move!

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