Some people enjoy having little or no social contact while others (especially extroverts) thrive on lots and lots of social contact. Many of us are somewhere in the middle.

Many who have moved – or traveled solo to another country for extended stay – may arrive as students and have built-in social connections through their university programs. For those traveling as students, contact with other students is typically part of the deal, obviously.

For those traveling on work, there is likely to be direct contact with others in your field.

But others traveling solo (extended travelers, retirees or digital nomads) may find themselves facing loneliness soon after arriving.

Making social contact can be very difficult. In some countries, the culture discourages impromptu conversation and chit-chat between strangers while in others, friendly discussions are encouraged at the local coffee shop. This depends on which country you are in.

Here is a BBC report on ideas for making social contact in other countries.

  • Learn the local language – this can be key to making local contacts.
  • If you staying long enough, join local groups, clubs, organizations, or churches to establish contacts and friendships. As the linked article says, being part of a faith community can provide excellent contacts.
  • Look in to groups listed on Meetup.com. I presume another avenue would be to seek out clubs oriented around your own special interests. This could be anything – skiing, jogging, bicycling, and other hobbies.
  • If planning to move abroad, such as at retirement, you might choose areas with an existing ex-pat community. I read of one mountain lake community in central Mexico where an estimated 10,000 ex-pats from the U.S. and Canada have made their home.

There is no easy solution that works for all, says the linked report.

For shorter term visits – measured in perhaps 1-3 months, there may not be opportunities to know locals. They might not wish to spend time getting to know someone who will soon leave.

Do you have experience or ideas with dealing with making social contacts? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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