When you make the move abroad, one of the biggest concerns for most people is often whether or not they will make friends when they relocate. Leaving behind a family and extended social circle can be heart-wrenching and will often put to test even the strongest relationships or familial ties. What you have to remember when you're making the move is that you will naturally take time to settle in, but once you do, there are numerous possibilities available to you to make friends and start all over again.
Starting with a Clean Slate
One of the advantages of moving abroad is that you have the opportunity to completely start again. There are no broken promises, strained bond of friendship or any other negative past history to deal with in your new location. For many this can be stressful, but the best way of dealing with it is to think of it as a positive new start. Not many people have the opportunity to reinvent themselves or their lives, but by moving abroad you're gifted this chance. Leaving behind old ways and even old friends can often open up an entirely new world to you and you may be surprised at rediscovering yourself.
Meeting Friends Through the Workplace
When you settle into your new life, one of the most common ways to meet new people is to meet them through your workplace. Many countries actively encourage people to meet socially outside of work with other co-workers. There are a variety of advantages to making friends in the workplace. You will obviously share a genuine interest and will understand any benefits or negative aspects of your job. Working similar hours will allow you to enjoy similar working patterns and arranging after work social events is much simpler. Aside from all of these points, making friends with workmates is just a very easy option when you're new to a country. They can prove to be valuable sources of information, and local customs, as well as leading you to meet other people whom you may want to meet socially. Embrace invitations to outings or weekend social events when you're invited to them. Turning down invitations more than once may lead to you not being asked again and may ruin any chances of developing friendships with people you may enjoy spending time with.
Meeting Friends Online
Many people are concerned with the thought of meeting new friends online due to the negative press that online meetings often gather. If you can look positively at the prospect of meeting new friends online, you'll be amazed at just how many opportunities there are to do so. There are a variety of websites that specifically cater to the ex-pats community. Simply typing 'expats' into a search engine such as Google will return plenty of websites that feature people in similar situations to you. A particularly prominent site is British Expats, a site that exists to provide a variety of information to expats, including social meetings and those looking for companionship in their new location abroad.
Social Groups Abroad and Making Friends
When you move abroad, why not seek out local social groups that focus on interests you had before you left. You may find that there are groups for English expats, Scottish groups, Irish groups and other similar social gatherings. Also, if you support a particular football team, you may find that there are local groups who meet regularly to support the team and watch broadcasts together. If you enjoy other activities, why not join some local groups and take part in some of their events. You may find that although there are few expats there, you will become friends with locals and be welcomed into their social circle. People are generally very accepting of newcomers and often want to introduce them to new customs and ways of life. The trick is to accept invitations and step outside your comfort zone - doing so just may make you some great new friends and help you settle into your new life abroad.
Hi,I left the UK at nineteen in '69 and have lived and worked in Australia for all that time. I am an Australian but have access to British passport and would dearly love to return and spend my twilight years in the land of my birth. My wife died some sixteen years ago and my five children have since married and gone their separate ways so I see little of them or my grandchildren. I emigrated on my own so all of my extended family still live over there who I've been in fairly regular touch over the last half century. Does anyone see any major issues or obstacles that may prevent me from realising my dream or should I just go for it?
Much depends upon your age. You will find this factsheet useful even as you are British citizen not yet over State Pension age, but who is considering moving back to live permanently in the UK now or in the next few years. Please see link here.
EmigrationExpert - 20-Jun-17 @ 11:21 AM
I left the UK at nineteen in '69 and have lived and worked in Australia for all that time. I am an Australian but have access toBritish passport and would dearly love to return and spend my twilight years in the land of my birth. My wife died some sixteen years ago and my five children have since married and gone their separate ways so I see little of them or my grandchildren. I emigrated on my own so all of my extended family still live over there who I've been in fairly regular touch over the last half century. Does anyone see any major issues or obstacles that may prevent me from realising my dream or should I just go for it?
Terry - 17-Jun-17 @ 7:22 AM
Hi. I am a british citizen of pensionale age and live in Alpena MI the USA on a green card, coming here in 2014 to join my american wife of ten years this years.Just recently My wife walked out on me overnight n separated with no warning or discussion. We lived on my british pension for past year as she as unable to work due to ill health. She drained the bank account n i just opened new one in my name for access to my pension from the uk.I wish to move back to UK to stay with my daughter till i find permanent accomodation. Is there any way i can obtain aby assistance with travel back the England as i have no monies apart from my monthly payment.
gysy boy - 10-Mar-17 @ 8:02 PM
I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN CYPRUS FOR 25 YEARS IM NOW DIVORCED AND MY FATHER INLAW IS THREATENING TO GET RID OF ME AS YOU MAY NO THEIR ARE STILL FAMIL VOWS I WANT TO COME BACK AS I FEAR FOR MY LIFE IM 75 PERCENT DISABLED AFTER AN OPERATION ON MY SPINE WHITCH DIDENT GO GOOD PLEASE HELP ME
STEVE - 10-Mar-16 @ 8:39 PM
My sister in law is diabetic and a recovering heroin addict. She resides in Belgium, but is a British National, born in N. Ireland. She has lived there for many years but is now a widow and wants to return home to her family. She is on benefits and receiving treatment in Belgium. Will she still be able to get these things when she returns to Belfast.
Jed - 29-Sep-15 @ 11:29 AM
L.I - Your Question:
I have a query, my father has spent ex amount of years abroad and is looking to move back to the UK.After experiencing financial difficulties he has no choice but to return to the UK. He has 4 children who will be coming back all of which hold expired British passports. What is the process he will need to foresee and what happens when he arrives? He has no body in the UK to help.
I am sorry to hear this. Please see our partner article, Moving Back to the UK After Living Abroad, here which may help. Also, if you come to the UK from abroad and your father wants to claim certain benefits, he must satisfy the conditions of the habitual residence test. Find out about what it involves, the benefits it applies to and whether you all need to meet the conditions of the test, see link here. I hope these articles help.
EmigrationExpert - 22-Sep-15 @ 11:55 AM
I have a query, my father has spent ex amount of years abroad and is looking to move back to the UK.
After experiencing financial difficulties he has no choice but to return to the UK. He has 4 children who will be coming back all of which hold expired British passports.
What is the process he will need to foresee and what happens when he arrives? He has no body in the UK to help.
L.I - 21-Sep-15 @ 2:01 PM
@Tweety - I'm very sorry to hear of your predicament and it is a shame that you did not do some research before moving back to the UK. Legislation changes frequently and of late the government has been putting restrictions in place to stop people coming back to the UK and claiming benefits. Age UK have compiled a leaflet on all the issues you need to be aware of here. I have included a link to Turn to Us, herewhich also may help you to assess what benefits you may be entitled to. You may also wish to give Age Concern or Age UK a call to see if you can obtain some free advice. I hope this helps and you manage to get your re-location issues sorted out.
EmigrationExpert - 15-Jun-15 @ 11:14 AM
I have lived in Canada for 60 years,I was coming over for a holiday,. While renewing my passport, I read the " how to information" first page sad, if I was a British. Citizen come home, and stated all the benefits if I was a British citizen, which I am, they never mentioned all the problems, I sold what little I had, and now I am here, at age 83, actually being where I have wanted to be for years, but this is not the happy welcome home I expected, in fact from what I see immigrants from other countries are able to get a place to live,and help, I have two Canadian pensions, but I am told after being here for six months I loose about £250 a month,
What do I do now?