Expatriation: 9 ways to make new friends abroad

If you are planning to travel alone and settle in a new country, you have probably made a list of all the important things you need to think about when you arrive: finding accommodation, a bank, insurance, etc. However, meeting people might not be on your list but is still essential. Here are some tips on how to make friends abroad and even before you leave!

Joining online groups to make new friends abroad

There are plenty of online groups for meeting new people.

Firstly, you will find the generalized sites where expatriates write about their experiences. You can comment on publications and ask questions. This will allow you to start a discussion with them.

You can also find more specialised groups where you can meet people with the same interests as you. Here are some examples:

For the more sporty, there are a lot of Facebook groups dedicated to organising sports activities, both as a team and individually. For example, you can find a partner to play tennis with or join a team of outdoor or indoor football players.

Again, don't hesitate to talk to some people before you arrive. You will be able to make friends with them and arrange meetings as soon as you arrive.

The Maplr community

Maplr's aim is to support you throughout your expatriation process, and this obviously includes your integration on the ground!

If you've been following Maplr for a while (you need to stop hesitating and pack your bags?), you've probably noticed that we've already accompanied several Maplrs in their expatriation. These people are part of our network and, once you've taken the plunge ✈️, they'll be part of yours!

The Maplr community is a real network of mutual support and brings together people who have decided to move to Canada.

Even before you arrive, we will put you in touch with the Maplrs so that you can introduce yourself and start a conversation. We hold regular events between Maplrs and their families to build relationships and new friendships. This is a great way for you to make friends when you arrive.

You should know that despite the pandemic, we continue to organise virtual events and small group remote games ?


Meet your work colleagues

In Canada, it is customary to organise what is called a 5 to 7. This is actually the Quebec expression for "Afterwork". Why 5 to 7? Simply because it's an after-work drink, usually held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm (or later for the more adventurous).

17:00 seems early to you? And yet! The pace of life in Canada is very different.

If you're interested, we discuss the pace of life in Montreal in this article.

Another tip is to get to know your future colleagues before you start work. Simply connect with them via LinkedIn and start a conversation. This way, you won't be a complete stranger when you join the company.

Making new friends abroad by organising or participating in meetups

The meetups are gatherings of people with a common interest. In other words, you meet people at themed events to discuss your common interests and make new connections. Until the pandemic is over, the events continue virtually. This is a good way to make friends abroad.

  • The meetup application

Do you know the meetup application? If you're a meetup fan, this should interest you! It will allow you to meet people while doing the activities you love!

There are a multitude of groups with a purely social purpose, such as meetup events in bars, game rooms, hiking... But also with a professional purpose, such as groups to learn a new language, help each other with IT projects, etc. Find your meetup!

  • Technical meetups

Depending on your technical skills, you will always find a meetup related to the technology in question. Each community usually has an associated Slack/discord. This is a great way to network and meet new people.

Some technical meetups in Montreal: 

  • The Montreal Java User Group (JUG) : The Montreal Java User Group (JUG) is a community around the JAVA ecosystem that meets monthly to exchange ideas and discuss technological advances. The meetings are free, open to all and consist of a technical presentation, a product demonstration, or a round table discussion.
  • Devops Montreal : This group is for anyone interested in the Devops movement and the digital transformation of companies. All levels are welcome.
  • Agile Montreal: This group is for anyone who practices or wants to develop their agile practice in business in areas as varied as project management, people management, strategy, innovation, leadership development or operations agilisation.
  • Vue Montreal : Group for anyone interested in Vuejs. The meetings are designed to learn about Vue.js in some way: through presentations or by helping each other.

Learn a new language and make new friends

Do you want to create a circle of English-speaking friends to improve your English? There are applications that allow you to meet English-speaking people. A great way to make friends abroad while improving your English (or another language).

Generally, these applications work on the basis of an exchange of knowledge: someone teaches you a language and you teach your native language to the other person.

Here are some examples of applications: HelloTalk, Speaky, Tandem, mylanguageexchange...

Discover the game bars

Are you a fan of board games? Then game bars are for you! It's a concept that's becoming more and more popular: meeting new people by playing board games (role-playing, pictionary, murder mysteries, etc.).

In Montreal, there are several of them and each one is as atypical as the other, in here is a small selection.


Doing volunteer work

A great way to meet new people while supporting a cause you care about is to volunteer?

There are lots of associations where you can give your support. This is a great way to find friends with whom you share the same humanitarian goals and interests.

Find the different volunteer centers in Montreal and its surroundings: I volunteer.

Registering on dating sites

At Maplr we have also thought about singles!

Here are some dating apps that also work very well in Montreal: the famous Tinder, Bumble, Happn...


Learn the basics of Quebec language

Finally, if you are going to a foreign country, the first thing to do is to learn the basics in the local language. If you come to Quebec, this will be easier since French is the main language. In this case, the best advice we can give you is to familiarise yourself with Quebec expressions!

To train you, here is a site which gathers several of them

A doubt during a meeting or an evening with friends? Here is WikébecHere is the participative dictionary to find the definition of words or expressions quickly.

Believe me, this avoids many misunderstandings!

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