13 Ways to Overcome Loneliness When Living Abroad
Living abroad can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be lonely at times. To help you navigate this challenge, we’ve gathered 13 tips from professionals such as co-founders, CEOs, and community experts. From actively seeking social connections to learning the local language, these tips will help you overcome loneliness and make the most of your time abroad.
- Actively Seek Social Connections
- Join Expat Groups for Support
- Embrace the Local Community
- Take part in Group Activities
- Connect via Facebook Groups
- Volunteer in the Community
- Find Hometown Restaurants Abroad
- Connect Through Sports
- Engage with Local Culture
- Explore and Discover
- Find Companionship in Pets
- Stay Connected With Loved Ones
- Embrace Self-Discovery
Actively Seek Social Connections
When living abroad and feeling lonely, it’s important to seek social connections actively and opportunities to meet new people. Look for local expat groups or community events where you can meet people with similar interests or backgrounds.
Attend language classes or join a sports team or hobby group to meet people with shared passions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to new acquaintances and invite them to hang out or explore the local area together.
And don’t forget to maintain connections with family and friends back home through regular communication. Making new connections and nurturing existing ones is the key to feeling fulfilled and connected when living abroad.
Join Expat Groups for Support
Joining expat groups can be a great way to find common ground in an uncommon culture, fight loneliness and homesickness, and make new friends in a new country. Chances are, other expats are eager to meet and make friendships with others like themselves and are also happy to share tips to help you adjust to life in a new country.
These groups are likely to be filled with folks who have similar experiences to you, both back home and in the new countries, and can be a great basis for friendships. If your city does not have existing expat groups, you can start one, or you can join online communities or connect with folks on social media or travel blogs from your home country who now live in your current country.
Embrace the Local Community
When I lived abroad, loneliness was a challenge. To overcome it, I actively embraced the local community. By immersing myself in the culture and engaging with others, I could foster connections and ease feelings of isolation.
Seek social opportunities that align with your interests. Whether it’s joining clubs, sports teams, or hobby groups, participating in activities you enjoy can help you meet like-minded individuals and build friendships naturally.
While forging new connections, it’s important to maintain existing relationships. Stay in touch with family and friends through regular communication. Last, prioritize self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Take part in Group Activities
I’ve lived abroad for almost 7 years and I remember the first few months how lonely and scared I was. However, I received some really brilliant advice from a friend—just start participating in group activities.
It doesn’t matter if those are sports activities or educational activities. You can find many programs on the internet where people are gathering in pubs, conference offices, or outdoor places to do some activity and interact with others, make friends, and spend a quality and productive day.
Once I started visiting outdoor activities with random participants, plus some cooking activities with another group of people, I felt more energized and motivated, and I started making friends for a lifetime.
Connect via Facebook Groups
After living abroad in several countries as a volunteer, international student, and digital nomad, I’ve found that one of the best ways to overcome loneliness is by meeting others in the same situation.
A quick way to connect with other expats is to join local Facebook groups. Search for the city or country on Facebook along with terms like “expats,” and “digital nomads.”
Many cities have several groups, and some are more active than others, so be sure to join them all. Once you get accepted into a group, you can hear about local events and reach out to other people living abroad in the same city to plan day trips and other activities.
Volunteer in the Community
Volunteering in the community is a great way to overcome loneliness when living abroad. It allows you to meet new people, make connections, and contribute to the local community. Volunteering also provides a sense of purpose and can give you a new perspective on your host country.
Consider volunteering at a local charity or non-profit organization, or joining a community group or sports club to meet like-minded people. By getting involved in the community, you can establish a support network and make lasting friendships.
Find Hometown Restaurants Abroad
I’m from Bucharest, Romania but spend a great deal of time in NYC because of my business, so I’ve encountered more than my share of loneliness over the years. My answer was fairly simple—seek restaurants that serve food from my hometown.
Trust me when I tell you that you will not be the only expat gravitating towards the taste of home, and going to these types of restaurants is a great way to build a community of people in the same boat as you.
Connect Through Sports
Sports are the absolute best for making connections abroad, as it is one thing that we have in common. All over the world, everyone plays soccer more or less the same way, you can always find a running group in any country, and sports like tennis transcend borders.
It is an easy way to establish a connection, which can be all too difficult when living abroad. Personally, I’ve found that sports are a great way to start a connection, but it will be on you to broaden it beyond that.
Engage With Local Culture
Every country has its unique traditions, festivals, and local customs. Moving abroad can be a golden opportunity to dive headfirst into this cultural explosion. Attending local events, festivals, and gatherings and even trying out new cuisines helps me recognize the heart and soul of the place—which immediately puts the feelings of isolation to rest.
From seeking those hole-in-the-wall eateries to striking up conversations with friendly folks in a cafe, there are a handful of ways to create instant connections and turn strangers into friends.
Explore and Discover
Although I’ve lived abroad for short periods, my primary role as a relocation manager is ensuring my clients feel comfortable and supported in their new environment. This one suggestion almost always works, and that is to get out there and have immersive and new experiences to overcome loneliness.
Exploring the city and trying new things can be a great way to overcome loneliness when living abroad. By taking the time to walk around and discover new places, you can familiarize yourself with the city’s layout and find spots you enjoy. Try to visit places that interest you, such as museums, art galleries, or parks.
Not only will this help you feel more connected to your new surroundings, but it will also give you something to talk about with others. You might even meet people who share similar interests or hobbies while out and about. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things—you never know what experiences you might have or who you might meet.
Find Companionship in Pets
One great tip I have for those who live abroad and want to reduce their loneliness is to get a pet. Pets provide companionship, love, and a sense of purpose for those who care for them. Of course, there are considerations like the availability of space and financial costs associated with getting a pet depending on where you live, but if it works out, it will be worth it!
Stay Connected With Loved Ones
Stay connected with loved ones. Regularly communicating with family and friends back home through video calls, messaging apps, or social media can ease feelings of loneliness while living abroad.
This ongoing connection provides a sense of familiarity and support, allowing individuals to share their experiences, seek guidance, and receive emotional support from their loved ones, even from a distance.
As a nineteen-year-old, I received a scholarship and moved to study in Spain. I felt happy and proud while also feeling scared. I hadn’t lived on my own before, not even in Poland, where I come from.
My first weeks in Vigo were lonely. Back then, international calls cost a fortune, and you couldn’t take any Internet connection for granted. I felt terribly homesick. Spending so much time alone, I discovered that deepening your relationship with yourself can cure loneliness. It came to me as a surprise, but it indeed worked.
By getting to know myself better, I developed a deeper understanding of my emotions and desires. I explored the local area, started learning Spanish, and engaged in activities that gave me joy. This process of self-discovery was enriching.
Living abroad offers an excellent opportunity for personal growth, which is hard to notice when feelings of loneliness take control over everything. The deeper your relationship with yourself, the easier it is to enjoy the new experience.
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