Most people who choose to teach English abroad will feel a certain amount of anxiety about the prospect of moving somewhere where they have no friends or family. However, the reality is that the vast majority of teachers soon get over their initial concerns once they are settled into their new environment. It is unlikely that you will be the only foreign teacher in your school or wider neighborhood and you are almost certain to meet a range of local people in the community who are keen to welcome you and make you feel at home.
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Your new workplace is one area where you are sure to meet like minded people. Most schools employ more than one foreign teacher so the chances are there will be other people at your new school who are in the same boat as you. Also, any teachers who have been at the school for a while will be a great source of knowledge when it comes to getting to know the area, the school environment and the local social scene.
Although it is normal for new teachers to become close friends with other expat teachers, you should not ignore the chance to make friends with local people. Within the school and the wider community there are certain to be many local people who would love the chance to share their culture with you. Local friendships can often lead to a deeper and more rewarding overseas experience.
Wherever you end up living and working you should find plenty of online expat groups, forums, and blogs via a quick Google search. By exploring these online resources you should be able to find groups that offer something that you might be interested in, whether it is outdoor activities, book clubs, wine tasting groups or a favorite sport. These activities will offer the perfect opportunity to get to know other expats and local people.
Taking part in or simply watching sports is always a great way to meet new people and to get to know your new environment. Wherever you find yourself there are sure to be local sports teams or fan groups that you can join. Football (soccer) is particularly widespread across the world, especially in South America and Europe, while in parts of Asia such as Japan and South Korea baseball is very popular. Most countries also have traditional sports that you can watch or even try. These can give a wonderful insight into the local culture and the people you live and work alongside.
Almost everywhere where there are expat workers, you will find a variety of popular places where they congregate. Most cities will have at least one bar or restaurant where expats meet up to eat and drink. These venues often provide a focal point for major sporting events or national holidays and celebrations. As well as bars and restaurants, international bookshops and coffee shops can also be good places to meet new people. On arrival you can ask your new work colleagues about any popular venues in your local area.
Many teachers decide to make some effort to learn the local language in order to make their day to day lives easier and it can also be a great way to make friends in the local community. You are likely to meet other foreigners at language classes and you can also choose to help local people with their conversational English skills, both of which can lead to long term friendships. All these suggestions are just a few of the more common ways to meet new people and make friends while teaching English overseas. The bottom line is, don?t be scared to approach work colleagues, neighbors, or other members of the local community as you never know where it might lead.