Studying outside of India will expose you to bountiful opportunities and possibilities throughout your years staying abroad. Making friends is undoubtedly a top of mind concern for a large number of International Indian students. However, do not fret! Slowly, gradually and eventually you will find the right people whose company will make your study abroad experience an enjoyable and enriching one.

Stop worrying! Another thing you will learn from your study abroad experience it is that this is a needless worry. We all find our niche eventually, and making friends happens naturally. Here are some things to keep in mind that will make meeting people easier.

Accommodation

As an Indian student planning to study abroad, you will need to research the right housing option available from a wide variety of choices. These include on campus and off campus living, renting a room or even looking into nearby hotels, and staying with a host family. Residing  on campus will keep you closer to campus and help you widen your social circle in ways beyond your imagination.

At first, it may seem like getting accustomed to living with a stranger might put you in an awkward spot, but believe it or not it is a great starting point to make new friends. Get to know your roommates and speak about your interests, the next thing you know is that you both share some mutual interests! Apart from roommates, you can engage with students on college campus by participating in a variety of student-run clubs, societies, sororities and fraternities. If you are an Indian student and prefer a vegetarian lifestyle then talk it out with your roommate and you will eventually find a way out to respect each other’s boundaries in the kitchen. Living with other students can be the best thing to do to enhance your study abroad experience.

Classes

Another way to meet friends? Your classes. There you will find people who you see almost everyday and that share the same academic challenges as you. You may also get to meet foreign raised Indian students who will share their story about getting used to a foreign curriculum and learning style. This can be a great start to bonding on an academic and personal level. You will find that you lean on each other for support and guidance. Sharing classes mean you also share homework and projects. During my time abroad a common thing for students to do was form study groups. You will find that strong friendships can be formed by sharing your academic strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears.

Extracurricular Activities

You can also meet friends if you put in a little effort and dabble in extracurricular activities. Student organisations are a great way to  meeting people that share the same interests as you. Do you love art? Join the art organisation and you will find that it is very easy to form bonds when you have something in common with someone. This is a great ice breaker for those who may be a bit nervous about meeting other students.

Volunteer groups are also an option! Many colleges hold events like fundraisers and extracurricular activities that require volunteer help. Not only will you meet people here who have, like you, volunteered their time, this can also help make you more familiar with your campus. Being involved in groups like this can break open your shell, stretch your comfort zone, and make you grow as a person.

Exposing yourself to new situations (hey you are travelling to a different country!) is a sure way to gain invaluable friendships. Some will last as long as you are abroad, some will last a lifetime. Give yourself the opportunity to be open to others and your new situation. Do this, and you will most certainly make memorable and once in a lifetime friendship.


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About the Writer: Merette Kennedy is an American writer and avid book lover. As a former international student, she completed her Masters Degree in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Limerick in Ireland. She is currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts, and is in the process of completing her first fiction-based novel.

About the Co-Author: Mustafa Sutarwala is an all-round creative marketing graduate from Amity University Dubai, and is currently working in Dubai. He's inclined to digital marketing communications and works as the Creative Ninja for SchoolApply.