Have you ever felt like you are the only one who has not made (m)any friends yet at college? Being an international student in the U.S. can sometimes be intimidating, and you may ask yourself why is it so hard to develop friendships.
Start an international student group at your school: Contact your International Student office and see how they might help you organize coffee hours, organize trips, parties and events. Send out emails, post flyers and invite International Students to join! This will allow you to connect with staff, get to know your school and key people on campus, and also get known yourself and make friends. In addition, you will also help others who seek help to make friends and give them a chance to meet fellow students.
Try to join as many clubs at your university as your schedule allows: This is an excellent way to meet American students and a great way to learn more about the American (sports) culture and make friends! Many groups go out for meals or hang out after practice. Make sure to go along and hang out, as those times are key bonding opportunities. Joining sports clubs also serves as a great study break and keeps you in shape.
Get involved in conversations, even if you think it’s a little “random”. Listen to what the others are talking about and try to comment on the topic and enter the conversation. You could for example agree with someone or say something funny. Don’t be afraid of small talk. Be friendly and smile and soon people will realize you are a nice and fun person to talk to. They will remember you later on and eventually you will become friends and hang out.
Befriend other international students: Sometimes it can be just a little bit harder to connect with American Students, but do not give up. Everyone is in the same boat and needs to find and make new friends, Americans included. However, do not only focus on natives. Meet students from other countries, learn about their cultures, cook a dish from your home country and invite guests over to have a little party.
Remember, you are not alone, we are sitting in this boat together. Just be proactive, smile, stay positive and make yourself approachable.
If you have any more tips on how to make friends or share your own personal story let us know in the comments below!