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Offline Social Networking in a New City

Settling in a foreign city after accepting a new job can be intimidating and lonesome. While habituating to the living arrangements and familiarizing yourself to the work routine and the newly introduced colleagues, you might be missing that sense of belonging and mutual affinity that you were accustomed at home. Add a different culture and a foreign language to your daily interactions and things could become difficult to handle. In trying to assimilate to your new surroundings, it is not always easy to strike up a conversation with a local sitting next to you at the bar, with high ratings on Tripadvisor or Yelp, that you chose to try out. Social network portals that facilitate organized offline gatherings are very beneficial.

Easing into life in a new city is much easier when you find people with whom you share similar interests. When I was a new expat in Australia and later Germany and looking to balance my work commitments with a social release, I discovered social networks that organize events in the city that bring together people with common interests. Meetup.com was one social website that is free to join and has active groups in most major cities around the world, which enabled me to meet fellow expats as well as locals. There are Meetup groups that cater to a breadth of different activities, like kayaking and hiking to restaurant/pub outings or gaming and sports events. I was able to learn more about my new city and the culture of its residents and shared many experiences with my new found friends. They were also helpful when I needed something translated or help moving some furniture among others.

Most people have passions that are beyond their chosen professions. While acclimatizing to a new environment, it is helpful to immerse yourself in some of your interests that align with the local culture. For example, a local team that plays sports that you enjoy watching or a local artist creates the kind of paintings/sculptures that you admire. It is informative and enriching to meet and converse with other individuals who are professionals in other disciplines. Internations.org is an organization that coordinates after work events for professionals. These events are not meant for business owners to find exposure for their businesses but rather for different professionals to interact with each other in a social setting. You can get a tip on an art gallery exhibit in the city or the best interest rates for a viable investment while enjoying a beverage and discussing the shortcomings of your favorite Premier League team.

There are other avenues to meet the right group of people that will help you adjust to your new city while becoming lifelong friends. Facebook has group pages that cater to different interests in different cities. Maybe that person sitting next to you at that bar you chose to try out with favorable reviews adds you to an expansive Whatsapp group that organizes frequent activities. The city you just arrived in is bound to have multiple local social events that you can take advantage of. Cities offer many vibrant entertainment from its facades to culture but it is the people that you share it with that make your transition gratifying. I am grateful for all the friendships I built in the cities I have had the privilege to live in.

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