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Friday, 31 August 2018

What I've learnt about friendship as an expat


I knew we were only ever going to be in Singapore for a short time but that didn't stop me wanting to meet a group of friends to help with homesickness and make staying here feel that little bit more familiar. Making friends as an expat has been so interesting and I have learnt so much about myself in the process. I hope this post will resonate with anyone who is, or has been, an expat and actually most of it applies to friendships at home as well! I guess one of the main worries before you move abroad is that you might struggle to make friends, so read on to hear how I have found it.


It’s refreshing to meet new friends with similar interests


All my close friends at home are people I've known for many years. I haven't gone out looking for new friends since those I met at school, university and my early work life. Suddenly you are in a brand new place with the opportunity to meet new people to click with and it's really exciting! You might have a specific interest and would love to meet others who share it: now is your chance to get out there and meet people and you might discover new interests yourself in the process. I have loved meeting friends from different places, with different interests, but it's also reinforced how much I love and treasure my friendships at home as well.

It can be nerve-wracking throwing yourself out there


I have been lucky that everyone I have met has been lovely but there is always that doubt that someone you’ve barely communicated with could be nothing like you thought they’d be in person. I guess it’s similar to modern dating, you exchange messages electronically then it’s all down to whether you click on that ‘first date’! I think it helps that you instantly have something in common, having both left home for pastures new, and will always have things to talk about. My biggest piece of advice is to take any opportunity to meet a wide range of new people when you move somewhere new and you will definitely find someone who you get on with.



Expat friends are a wealth of information


You can join all the online groups you like but having a WhatsApp group with the expat friends you have met is amazing when you want to ask everything from where to get your hair cut to where to take visitors for dinner. Don’t underestimate how many questions you will have when you first move somewhere new! It's also a great way to try different places, we've had some nice days out to see parts of Singapore that I may not discovered if it wasn't for other expats suggesting them.

Nothing is permanent


People are always coming and going in expat circles so you will get used to people moving away. I have been lucky that all my friends have been consistent as we are only in Singapore for less than a year. I am the one who will be leaving the lovely friendship group that has evolved, something I am trying to come to terms with at the moment. It’s great to have friends you can keep in touch with from different walks of life and just think of all the exotic locations you will have an excuse to visit in future! I love the fact I have somewhere to stay if we ever come back (they did promise!) and I can't wait to see how their lives out here continue to evolve.
                                                                                                                                                               

You won’t click with everyone


Someone told me this but I have been really lucky to find plenty of girls I have connected with. However, not all plans to meet up have worked out so it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. It's best to try to connect with as many people as possible, whether that is through organised events or through other friends. You find that expat circles move and adapt very quickly and I have been meeting new people far more regularly this year than I would at home.


Think outside the box


Meeting friends doesn’t have to be left to chance and it’s actually quite difficult to meet anyone that way. Get yourself signed up to the Meetup app and any Facebook groups for the place you are moving to. For Singapore I recommend The Only Way Is... Singapore and Singapore Expat Women. I met most of my girl group at a Singapore Expat Women event. I also actually met a couple of expat friends through finding each other on Instagram through relevant hashtags: don’t be afraid to message someone who you think you might click with. I am hoping this can continue when I move home!

You will gain a different perspective


Moving abroad, albeit temporarily, will always be the biggest, scariest and best decision I have ever made. I can 100% say it has changed me, for the better, and I owe a large part of that to the new people I have met. I have had my eyes opened to new opinions, groups, interests and ways of life which is wonderful! It's also made me realise just how lucky I am to have my friends at home. I have known them all for 10 years + and I just don't know where I'd be without them now. I am a mixed bag of emotions right now: half of me is so excited to get home and see everyone, the other half will miss my expat friends so much!


Be grateful for people that make you laugh 

a little louder, smile a little bigger and live a little better 


I am so grateful to each and every one of the amazing girls I have met in this short but sweet expat experience. How have you found making friends as an expat? Leave a comment below if you can relate!

All photos taken in the beautiful Botanic Gardens in Singapore, a must visit!

13 comments :

  1. You have made some excellent points and given some great advice. Moving abroad is such a big step, so friends are really important.

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    1. Thank you for reading! It has really helped meeting such lovely people along the way.

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  2. I can't imagine ever being brave enough to move abroad where I don't know anyone but what an incredible experience you've had!

    I've never really sat down and thought about it before but you are so right, the friends you have back home are people that you've known for years and years and actually making friends a bit later on in adulthood is nice as you get to meet people who have similar passions as you! Some of my older friends I've drifted away from quite a bit since relocating to the North East just because we've both realised we don't have much in common, just history. It's been so refreshing meeting new people that I get on with because we share similar interests (usually eating!)

    I'm sure it'll be so sad leaving all your lovely new friends behind but hopefully you've formed a lifelong bond x

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    1. Ahh thanks for reading! It has been so good, I don't know what came over me this year I was just really confident at reaching out to people. It's definitely hard to maintain friendships at a distance and you're right you find out who you still have things in common with. I'm glad you've found some good northern friends- we are an over friendly bunch haha! Yes I definitely hope so - and it's a good excuse to come back to Asia :) x

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  3. So many truths here. It's not always easy making new friends when you move around. I think the worst part of travelling is having to leave behind the people you really connect with. I have managed to stay in touch with a lot though and visit them in other places too

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    1. Thanks for this, I totally agree. Moving abroad is full of highs and lows when it comes to the friendships you make and those you leave behind!

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  4. I don't think i'll ever get the courage to move abroad, but this post really makes it seem a lot less terrifying! Lovely post and so well written lovely!

    Jessica // www.jessistrying.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, that's so kind! I would love to know I'd encouraged someone to move abroad if it's something they want to do as it's a great experience.

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  5. Aw love this - and your photos are so beautiful! I adore the idea of living abroad even for a tiny while haha, it gives me hope that even though I am ill now and cemented in my home maybe I will be able to in the future :D I love the idea of making as many connections as possible to make friends, it sounds a great tip and your blog and journey sounds so exciting!! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (I would love to follow each other on bloglovin if you like :D)

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    1. I hope you get the opportunity to follow your dream some day and you will never look back, it is a great experience. Thanks so much for your lovely words! Just going to check out your blog now :)

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  6. This is really helpful thank you! We are moving to Singapore in January :) I can't seem to find the only way is singapore Facebook group. Has it closed?

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    1. Hi I am glad you enjoyed reading. No it's definitely still active! I wonder if someone has to invite you. I have left it now as I have moved home, if you message me on my Facebook page also called Melis Living I will find a way to get you invited to the page! x

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