Make Friends While Living Abroad

Make Friends While Living Abroad

Has anyone ever tried to make friends while living abroad? It’s hard, man! Think back on when you were in kindergarten and how easy it was to make friends. For many people, the ease of friendship continued on well through college and into their young adulthoods. The process of making friends may stop becoming so effortless once you relocate, though. Changing cities can bring forth a bundle of emotions. Add passports, visas and different languages to the mix and it can feel downright isolating.

I was fortunate enough to form some solid friendships when I lived in Korea, though many of them left halfway through my first year. It was tragic. I cried a lot. I’d never really gone a period in my life where I didn’t have friends. I used to be the girl that was always out and about, but suddenly I was in unchartered territory and it. was. awful.

As a result, I was bit reclusive in my second year in Korea. While this was mainly because I taught private lessons 5 days a week (including Saturday mornings) it was also because I just couldn’t be bothered to make new friends all over again. Now that I’ve relocated (AGAIN) to New Zealand, I’ve decided to put myself out there a bit more and make the extra effort. I’ll admit: sometimes I’m too lazy to follow through with my own suggestions.

How to make friends while living abroad can be challenging sometimes. This app makes it much easier!

Pin me, please!

Take a class

One of my friends that I met in Korea who’s also living in Auckland invited me to take swing dancing classes with her. Despite the fact I’m not terribly keen on coordinated dance, I loved it! I decided to sign up and enjoyed the classes I attended. To be honest, though, I sort of suck and only went to a few classes due to other engagements. I also didn’t speak to many others aside from Rachael because I was a bit too shy. The fact of the matter is that I put myself out there and tried something completely out of my realm. You can, too!

While I loved the idea of dancing, it wasn’t really my jam. I’ll be enrolling in a Spanish course next term, which is something I know I’ll be more diligent as I’ve wanted a refresher course for years. Although I can’t be too sure yet, I’m hoping there will be potential new friends enrolled as well so I can have a language practice buddy in New Zealand.

If language or dance isn’t your type of thing, there are plenty of options! Check out your local community center or Facebook groups for art classes, book clubs, anime gatherings – whatever suits your personality. The options are endless. Do what makes you happy and you’ll be sure to find others who share that same passion.

how to make friends while living abroad

Started in Korea now we here.


Attend Meetups

This is a pretty effective way to make friends while living abroad. Not only do Meetup groups exist across the world, it’s super useful as you can choose events based on super niche interests. For example, James and I both love reading, so we joined a book club that meets once a month. I love hiking and comedy, so I joined a hiking group that frequents stand-up comedy shows and other fun events several times a month. James loves movies so he joined a movie lover group. It’s pretty awesome and a great way to meet people who you have more of a chance of hitting it off.


Download the Huggle app

I was complaining to my best friend recently about how difficult it is to make friends while living abroad. Have you ever thought about Tinder for friends? Huggle is sort of like that – but better. Huggle connects you with people who share your interests in a super unique way. The app uses location data to keep track of others using the app who frequent the same spots you do. No matter if you’re a gym rat, book worm or bar fly, the Huggle app will be of service to help you make friends while living abroad.

how to make friends while living abroad

One of the more unique concepts is that Huggle will not connect you with people who don’t share similar locations. You pretty much just have to live your life as you normally would and let Huggle do all the work. Though I was a bit hesitant at first, I was really pleased to find the amount of security that goes into Huggle’s settings. As soon as I logged in, I was prompted to pose for a photo mirroring an image provided. It took about one minute for the photo to be verified and I was set to use it from there! I really think more apps like this should take online safety to this level. 

The high security features and the fact that it connects you with people who frequent the same haunts as you makes it highly unlikely you’ll receive any unsolicited photos (#TeamNoDickPics.) If you’re keen to connect with others who share the same interests and hobbies, download the Huggle app today! You can find it in various app stores on the Huggle website. What are you waiting for?

Have you discovered any cool apps recently? Let me know in the comments below! While this is a sponsored post, all opinions expressed are my own.



  1. August 23, 2016 / 11:49 pm

    This is a great post and a very very common theme with travelers and expats alike! I remember doing my dissertation (surrounding Intercultural Communication) and the topic of friendship came up with all of my focus group participants. Great suggestions for making new friends while abroad. I’m looking to embark on new horizons in March and this will post will come in handy! Thanks for sharing ^^

    • August 24, 2016 / 3:27 am

      No problem, Lindsay! It’s really strange to reflect back on friendships in childhood vs. adulthood. You really have to try the older you get and it’s sort of overwhelming (well, for me at least!) I just need to stick to my word when it comes to this type of stuff.

  2. August 25, 2016 / 8:59 am

    Bahahahaha #teamnodickpics – ugh the struggle is real! Sounds like a wicked app – I’ll have to check it out. I’ve been to a couple of meet-ups here in Seoul but haven’t had that much trouble meeting people. A consistent crew, on the other hand, is definitely tougher. I refuse to go out on Fridays anymore cause I’m simply too tired. Glad you’re getting out there in your new digs!

    • August 25, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Thanks, Kate! I found Korea was easier to make friends because there’s a certain bond that comes with living in such a foreign culture and can share funny stories about weird happenings at work or Korea-centric hilarities. It’s a bit harder here as everything is seemingly “normal” compared to what I’m used to back home and it lacks that Korea/Asia quirk to bond over if that makes sense. I long for a crew again! Ugh!

  3. August 25, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    Interesting. I should try that Huggle app when I travel overseas alone. Looks like a great way to meet new friends. Making friends is a great way not to get bored overseas.

  4. August 25, 2016 / 3:29 pm

    Huggle sounds like a great way to connect and make friends, especially if you are in an unknown place. Technology really draws all of us closer. Earlier who would have imagine people interacting in real time even though thousands of miles separated them.

  5. August 25, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Gotta check this app. I always love to check new apps, but none of them makes it permanent place on my phone when it comes to socialising apps. Will give it a try:)

  6. August 25, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Cool! You’re so right — it can be a challenge. For me, my first year was SOOOOO rural. So, I was friends with the couple other people in our area — but it’s funny you basically HAD to be friends because they were the only people around lol (they were cool though!) I have never heard of this app, so I will need to check it out wherever we move next! Thanks again!

    P.S. I love your logo 🙂

  7. August 26, 2016 / 12:40 am

    I just had a heart-to-heart yesterday with one of my girlfriends about the struggles of continuously re-establishing yourself. This is one of the reasons why I want to go home next year is become making friends abroad as an expat is one of the most exhausting experiences. It’s so rewarding when you do find a companion but there’s a lot of sifting and to try to unpack who you are in the span of a few weeks just so you have as long-lasting of a relationship as possible in the short tenure is so much emotional labor. Thank you for these awesome tips though! I know so many will appreciate the info!

  8. August 26, 2016 / 1:21 am

    Ohhh Huggle sounds interesting. I’m going to have to download and test it out. With a name like “huggle” how can it go wrong, am i right? hehe

  9. August 26, 2016 / 3:12 am

    I definitely use meetups to meet new people. Still no one I could close friends. They just become acquaintances.
    I joined couchsurfing too, also quite a bunch of fickle people on it.

    I’m gonna give Huggle a try.

  10. August 26, 2016 / 10:32 am

    I used Tinder to meet people and make friends with. Don’t judge, it’s not just for hooking up and getting dates. I’ve made lifetime friends of locals I’ve met on the app. But, huggle sounds interesting. I’ll give it a shot 🙂

  11. August 28, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    I agree Meetups or travel groups are great for meeting new people, even if temporary (usually people come from different cities). But having to re-introduce yourself over and over get old pretty fast. And then you have friends constantly leaving and going home – yea, friendships abroad are tough! Never heard of the App you mentioned, I may have to give it a try if I feel like introducing myself again lol.

  12. August 28, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    This is so lovely! Making new friends is HARD, especially when I’m super introverted and have a low tolerance for like everything. I’m lucky in Korea, all the foreigners live in the same building, so we’ve all been stuck together whether we like it or not :p. But I know what you mean, all the friends I made when I first moved to Korea left after the first four months, and then the one girl I became really tight with left after about 8 months. On top of that, we didn’t get anyone new because of budget cuts until much later that year. It was so depressing!

    I like these tips, and the meet-ups are definitely so important! Will have to check out the app as well!

    • August 29, 2016 / 1:34 am

      It’s tough stuff – that especially sucks without the new people as I’m sure you were looking forward to having some fresh faces in the area. It gets overwhelming but I’m lucky to have at least one friend (aside from James) here. Adulting sucks, man! <3 Thanks for reading, Samantha!

  13. August 28, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    I definitely understand not having friends abroad. Thought I do have some, not many that are very close though and that have time to do stuff.
    Tips are nice! Though other than going to a photography meet up a couple times, I haven’t done much.
    Might be worth a shot, though,
    Hope the best for you there in New Zealand!

  14. August 29, 2016 / 1:25 am

    I joined a photography group and a language school and made lots of friends that way. That Huggle app is interesting. I have never heard of that. Maybe if I would move again that would come in handy.

  15. August 29, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    I consciously limited my circle when i was new here in Korea but opened up a little when I became familiar already. These days, i meet new friends from the classes i attend. Here in Seoul especially global centers, offer different classes.

  16. September 1, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    Great list and I’ve never heard of Huggle so I’ll definitely have to check it out. I’ve been living abroad for awhile now and I find Couchsurfing to be really useful if you haven’t tried that. You can host or attend meet ups!

  17. September 1, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I never heard of Huggle! How cool! It is so much more difficult making new friends as an adult. I felt like it was really hard when I moved to California at first actually (even though it’s not abroad) because I felt like the only person who was looking for friends, everyone else already had their inner circles. Moving to Korea was rough our first year as I made a few friends at work, but alot of the people I met that year weren’t really nice people and came to Korea for what I think are all the wrong reasons…like just to have sex with women. Anywho, you give some great advice! We loved meetup groups and finding local facebook groups who do regular events for expats!

    • September 2, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Thanks, girl! Yeah, I’m sort of feeling that way in Auckland but I’m finding my ground as each day passes. Ugh, I know that type of person in Korea all too well. So unfortunate and gross.

  18. November 16, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Taking classes is definitely a great idea! I think I made more friends in my Chinese language class than at work! I’ve never heard of Huggle before, but it sounds awesome. I’ll definitely try that next time I settle somewhere for a while 🙂

    • November 16, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      Yeah language courses or any sort of class is definitely key. I’ve met some really sweet people in an exercise class. Definitely check out Huggle it’s pretty neat!

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