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How To Make Friends In A New World

by Jack Langslow

Posted: 15th July 2015 09:14

Moving half way across the world to study is a frightening prospect, as just leaving home to go to university in your own country is daunting enough for some!  While guaranteed to be a major upheaval, there really is nothing better or more confidence enhancing than settling in and making friends quickly in strange new surroundings.  Here we have our suggestions on how you can hit the ground running in your new country.   

It seems an obvious point, but the first thing you should do is learn the language.  You probably won’t need to be fluent when you arrive, but being able to hold a half decent conversation in the local lingo goes a long way, and you’ll only get better the more you speak it!

Secondly, brush up on local traditions and etiquette.  Different Asian cultures expect different things and have different behavioural norms, so you won’t want to upset the locals by doing something they consider rude.  Don’t leave a tip in a Japanese restaurant for example, or leave chopsticks in your food in any South Asian country.  Some local faux pas are seemingly random (don’t whistle at night in Thailand as it’s considered bad luck) while others are much more serious, such as criticising the Chinese government or cultural achievements (China may be beautiful but its prisons aren’t).

Additionally, why not gain an appreciation for local culture.  Knowing something about Thai music or Japanese sumo wrestling is a great way to break the ice with the locals and shows you’re taking an interest in their way of life.  You simply must be prepared to immerse yourself in the culture of the country you’re studying in if you want to befriend its people, but why wouldn’t you want to expand your horizons by doing exactly that?