Make connections and start volunteering

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

You moved to a new country and you need a way to make new friends, network within your community and make the most of your overseas experience. One of the best ways to do these things is to volunteer. Volunteering not only benefits you, but will also benefit your community and the people you dedicate your time and service to.

Sign up, and don’t be shy

First thing you have to do is sign up with a volunteer organization in your area. The American Red Cross, USO, Army Volunteer Corps, Americans Working Around the Globe and spouses’ clubs are just a few examples that may be available to you. Signing up is the easy part in the friendship making process. The hard part can be putting yourself out there.

If you’re not a social person, it may be difficult to get to know other people, especially in a country where you’re adapting. Once you find an organization to volunteer with, try your best to get to know the other volunteers. Don’t be shy and start by asking others where they’re from. Be sure to share your story too.

Find common interests

Volunteer with organizations that interest you, so you’ll enjoy the work. Shared interests are perfect ingredients for creating friendships. When you find an interest you share with someone else, you are likely to find much more that you have in common.

Don’t limit yourself

You have found an organization to volunteer with and have made new friends while doing so, but don’t stop there! There are multiple organizations desrving of your time and service. You may enjoy several lines of volunteer work and can have a group of friends in each. How nice would it be to know different people in many areas that you love and enjoy? This way you can make the most of your volunteer time and experience.

Finding a support system of friends is important especially if you moved to a new place far from home. Hopefully these tips will help you get involved in your community and make new friends, not only for your time here, but for life.

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