Have you tried feeling lonely being all by yourself in a foreign city, not speaking the language or being familiar with the cultural codes? Making friends in a foreign country can be a big challenge, and it takes a lot of courage to force yourself into meeting new people.
But remember this: you just need to stay positive, be proactive and go to as many social events as possible. We have listed five great ways to meet new people as an exchange student in order to try to help you kick-start your new life in Paris.
1. Find a student job in Paris
This is one of the first things you should do when you arrive in a foreign country, because it is one of the easiest ways to meet new people. Getting a job is not only an opportunity to make new friends through work; it is also a great way to get to know the language and the culture. You might have your doubts about finding a job abroad, but the demand for English speaking people coming to work in France, and especially in Paris, is actually very high, and there are many different jobs in France you can get as a foreigner.
2. Find a shared accommodation in Paris
Finding a nice place to stay should be at the top of your list when moving to a foreign country, the question is: what kind of accommodation would you like? There are a lot of different places you can stay as an exchange student in Paris. The most obvious way to find an accommodation in France is through university associations. Through such associations you will be able to get a small appartmenet or typically a room, where you will be sharing kitchen and/or bathroom with other exchange students.
If you have the courage, another great way to get in touch with the locals, is to find a shared accommodation with other students. In France you can often find apartments shared between two to three people, in which you will be able to rent a room. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know other people your age in France.
3. Join a sports club
When you have sorted out the practicalities, you will see that you have more energy to get your new life abroad started. One of the ways to meet new people is to sign up for leisure time activities. There are a lot of sport clubs in Paris and anyone can join. Some clubs are free for everyone and some charge a monthly or yearly fee. For instance there are many free running groups that meet up two or three times a week. In Paris you will also be able to join free outdoor yoga or fitness classes during spring and summer.
4. Sign up for volunteer work
Volunteering is another great way to meet new people, and it is also an opportunity to get to know people of different ages and with different cultural backgrounds. You can find both local and international volunteer work. By volunteering you will be dedicating your time and energy to a project that will give you a lot in return, both regarding friendships but also the energy you get in return helping other people.
5. Participate in our international events
Another great way to meet new people is to participate in our social events. We have several different kinds of events throughout the year organized in honor of our “Language ambassadors”.
Once a year we put together our Life start Paris event, helping you integrate much faster in France. Every month we also arrange our Wine & Cheese events where you can meet not only French natives but also other exchange students.
6. Check out the local applications
When moving to a foreign country people often find themselves with a feeling of starting all over again and it can be extremely hard to keep your head clear in such a situation. In the previous section we have listed some good ways to meet new people in ‘real life’, but yet another way to do so is through the internet. In fact there are a lot of different apps available where you can get in touch with like minded people, or get involved in group events for people who don’t necessarily know each other in advance. In addittion to these kinds of applications you can also get a lot of free mobile apps to discover Paris.
Just remember this: the most important thing is to stay positive, don’t be shy and go out and talk to people even if you feel that your french is not good enough yet!