Published on October 16, 2015

8 ways your friends abroad are different than friends back home

Living abroad can connect you to new people in many different and unique ways. Expats and world-travelers are a self-selecting group of people who are generally more international, travel-savvy and interested in what the world has to offer. Not only do you often have more in common with the people you meet abroad, but they are likely more open to inviting new and diverse people into their lives. Here are our top perks of making friends abroad.


"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca


making friends abroad


8 ways the friends you make abroad are different than friends back home


1) They are from all over the world

Meeting people abroad is a great way to make friends from all corners of the world. Not only do you get the chance to meet locals while living abroad, but you can also hit up expat spots where there are other foreigners looking to make friends. Establishing friendships with people all over the world helps you get to know other cultures, traditions and ways of life without having to actually travel to those places.


2) They are more international

The people you meet abroad not only come from all over the world, but they also have traveled the world. Or if they haven’t traveled the world, they have a desire to travel the world along with a curiosity to learn and understand new cultures. Overall they are more interested in what's going on in the world, not just in their home country.


3) They become your family

Most people who move or travel abroad don’t bring their family with them. That means they depend even more on the friends they make abroad to be there for them. People who become friends abroad develop intimacy and trust more quickly than they would with people in their home country often out of necessity. Living abroad can be lonely at times, which is what makes people abroad so open to introducing new people in their lives. When you don’t have your family, who do you celebrate holidays with? Friends from your home country or region.



4) You bond over the experience of learning about the new culture

While exploring a new country abroad you’ll inevitably find some “partners in crime” that will accompany you on your adventures. Learning about a new country and coping with the cultural differences with new friends by your side is a crucial bonding experience.


5) They’re more open-minded

Friends you meet abroad are either also foreigners or locals interested in making friends with foreigners, meaning these people are going to be a bit more open-minded than the average person. Open-minded people are less likely to make snap judgements and are willing to let new people, ideas and experiences into their lives.


6) You get to share cultures

One of the most rewarding things about making friends in a foreign country is the ability to share your culture with others. By cooking a favorite food or playing your favorite song from back home for your friends, you can introduce others to something new from home. Meanwhile, you also have the chance to experience someone else's culture in a personal way.


making friends abroad


7) You can learn about your own country

Inevitably while abroad you end up making friends with people from your home country. However, it’s not likely that they are from your exact hometown. That’s when things get interesting. It can be fun to learn about different provinces, states and cities of your home country by meeting people from these places abroad. Also, you’ll end up with a place to stay if you ever decide to go visit that area in the future.


8) You can pick up another language

If you have the patience, one of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to befriend or date a native speaker. Frequent conversations with a native speaker is kind of like a free language lesson. All the time. Plus it's more entertaining and rewarding because while learning the language you really get acquainted with that other person and their culture.



Sources: BrainyQuote

Photo 1. based on Sunday means get together, by Yasin Hassan - ياسين حسن, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. by The Intern Group

Photo 3. based on Amigas, by Dani Vázquez, CC-by-SA 2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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