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How to Make Friends as an Exchange Student: Tips from Former Exchange Students

Making friends as an exchange student can be a challenge, but it’s a great opportunity to create lifelong bonds with new people from all over the world. By following these tips,...

There are many reasons why people choose to go to high school abroad. Some of you might be looking for a change in environment, while others may want to improve their language skills and have more opportunities academically. 

But no matter what your reason is for going on an exchange, one of the best things about it is the friends you make while you're there. I was an exchange student in Kentucky, USA for the 2019-2020 academic year. At first it was difficult to step out of my comfort zone to talk to new people, but this is one of the skills you learn while being an exchange student, one from which you will benefit for the rest of your life.

Here are some tips from me and my exchange student friends on how to make friends as a exchange student:

1. Participate in Sports

After the school day, many people participate in sports. If you already participate in a sport in your home country, you can continue doing so, or you can attempt a new sport that you were previously unaware of or did not have the opportunity to participate in in your home country. 

It’s easier to meet like-minded people while doing sports because you’re already sharing a common interest which breaks the initial barrier of approaching someone new.

2. Join Clubs and Extracurricular Activities

If sports aren’t your thing, participating in clubs and other activities is another great way to meet people with similar interests. It can also help you feel more connected to your school and community.

Some extracurricular activities that may help include:

  • School clubs: many schools have clubs for different interests, from art to politics
  • Community service organizations: these are a great way to give back and meet new people

3. Talk to Everyone

One of the best things about being an exchange student is that you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, so don't be afraid to start a conversation with new people. These are new people, you wouldn’t know them at all.

You never know who you might meet or what kinds of connections you'll make, so go ahead and introduce yourself to that person sitting next to you in class, or start a conversation with someone you come by during lunch.

4. Be Open-minded

When you're on an exchange program, it's important to be open-minded. This means being willing to try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences.

It can be easy to get caught up in your comfort zone, but pushing yourself outside of it is often when the best memories are made. So go out and explore, and who knows, you might just make some lifelong friends along the way.

5. Be Yourself

Being yourself seems obvious but this is one of the most important things to keep in mind because it doesn’t matter who you are, there will always be people who’s personalities match yours. After all, people are more likely to want to be friends with someone who is genuine and authentic.

So don't try to be someone you're not, just be yourself, and the rest will fall into place.

6. Be the Inviter, Not Just the Invitee! 

Like with any friendship, hanging out with your new friends will take some effort. Make sure to not wait for them to invite you out, you’ll have to be the one to suggest plans and invite people along. But it’s worth it! Hanging out is a great way to get to know people better and have some fun at the same time. Once you’ve found a group of people you get along with, invite them to hang out outside of school. You can go to the movies, go bowling, or just walk around town together.

7. Don't Be Afraid to Make the First Move

Making friends as a high school exchange student can be scary, but it’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is looking for friends, so don’t be afraid to make the first move.

If you see someone you want to be friends with, go up and introduce yourself. It may seem scary, but it’s the best way to meet new people. This will get way easier the more you do it!

8. Say Yes To All Activities

Try to go out of your way to say yes to as many activities as possible. Even though you would normally not do something in your home country, make sure to try it while you are on exchange, you never know what will come of it. Don’t forget that you can still say no if something doesn’t feel right, always trust your gut instinct.

9. Let Everyone You Meet Know You Are An Exchange Student

This helped me out the most during my exchange year. If you meet someone new and tell them you’re an exchange student, they’re immediately interested in if you are enjoying your time in your host country, or what it is like in your home country, which instantly leads to a good conversation.

Most people are also open to helping or talking to you when they know you’re an exchange student, because they know you’re new and from a different place.

10. Get Involved in Your Host Family

Make sure to always be involved with your host family. I had a host brother my age with whom I did most things together and I always went out of my way to do as much as we could together. This also includes things like going to their family gatherings, helping out around the house, and taking part in their hobbies and activities. It is very likely that they can also introduce you to new people and you’re going to spend a lot of time with them so they will also become your friend in a way.

Not only will this help you feel more comfortable and at home, but it will also give you a chance to get to know the members of your host family better.

Lastly, Connect Socially Online

In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to connect with people online. There are a number of social media platforms and websites that can help you find friends as a high school exchange student.

Join our community where we share the experiences, stories, and struggles of exchange students around the world! You also can visit our forum where you can post questions, or talk to other exchange students. If you have any questions or 

Summary

Making friends as an exchange student can be a challenge, but it’s a great opportunity to create lifelong bonds with new people from all over the world. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find some great friends along the way.

You have to be open-minded when you are a high school exchange student. You also have to make sure that you are hanging out with people and getting to know them better. There are many ways to make friends as a high school exchange student, the most important things are to be yourself and be open to new experiences.

Exchange Life

Exchange Life is a community of exchange students around the world. We make custom memories for your exchange. Through our customizable items, you can hold on to memories and tell the unique story of your exchange. Make sure to check them out here!

 

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Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…

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