How to make friends on an Internship
One of the most daunting parts of interning overseas is that everyone you meet will be the perfect stranger. Perhaps you are lucky and you have a family member or an old friend you can rely on while you’re away. But for most of you, you won’t know one. single. person.
And that can be terrifying !
Especially when you’re interning in a city the size of London or Paris! So, what is the best way to meet new people and make like-minded friends while you’re overseas? Here are some of our best tips!
This is an obvious one – and it is also one of the most common ways adults meet new friends. We spend the largest percentage of our lives in workplaces with our work colleagues. A lot of the time we will know more about Kathy from HR’s weekend than our own sister’s!
So, how do you break the barrier and turn a relationship from colleague to friend? This takes time. For a lot of people, separating work-life from their home-life is important and so introducing a work colleague into their personal life might first take some time and trust.
The best way to become friendly with your colleagues is to always participate in office activities: so there’s birthday cake in the common room? Sure, you will go and have a piece! Everyone in the office is placing bets on the upcoming horse race, would you like to be involved? Sure, you would!
See where I’m going here? Putting yourself in as many social situations at work is a great way to meet new friends.
Another great way of meeting people while you’re interning overseas is to live in shared accommodation. This generally means sharing a house or an apartment with 2-4 other people – they could be local students or professionals, or they could also be internationals working in the city – or they could be a mixture of both.
Share houses come in all shapes and sizes and they all come with their own customs and traditions depending on the people living there. So it is really important you take your time to interview and meet all of your potential housemates, especially if you want to find a house that you can call home.
Participating in as many social activities as possible is the fastest way to make new friends while you’re overseas. Get involved in your local sports team, yoga class, painting class, photography walking group, book club, charity, political party, dancing group etc. – there really are endless possibilities!
Meeting people who share similar interests is important for our social life. So once you’re settled into your new home, go down and check out the local noticeboard in your corner café or supermarket for social groups and activities.
What I mean by this point is that once we have spent some time somewhere and formed a routine we become comfortable. And once we are comfortable, we relax and become more aware of our surroundings.
Oh, you remember seeing that old man walking his dog the same time last week!
And there goes that jogging lady you see every day!
You notice there is a yoga class held in the park every morning at 6:30am.
Your morning Barista’s name is Jacque.
Your bus always arrives 3 minutes late.
Your elderly neighbour’s grandchildren visit every Saturday.
Not only will you start noticing little details about your new city such as these, but your new community will also start noticing you!
Suddenly, Jacque will remember that you take your coffee black, your neighbour’s grandchildren will begin waving to you in the hallway, and the old man and his dog might stop for a chat as they walk past one sunny morning.
You never know when you might meet your next friend! The key is being open and taking interest in the people around you. Remember, starting friendships from the very beginning always take time, patience and repeat get-togethers. But if you are lucky enough to form friendships on your internship, you will find that bond will last for the rest of your life. And what a wonderful thing that is!
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