You’ve unpacked the essentials, what happens now? If you do not already have friends or acquaintances in your new community you may find creating new relationships is a great way to help you settle in.
Getting out of the house and making new friends, especially after such a big life transition, can be really difficult and daunting. The sooner you start making connections, the sooner you will feel at home. Having a network of friends you can trust is a huge part in building a support system, which everyone needs! Yes, we know, your support system can be virtual now, but having an in-person connection can make a really big difference.
Even the most outgoing of us can struggle with making new friends so we have compiled a list of things you can do to help you create a connection with your new community.
Get to know your city
The internet is your best friend, search your town online and they may have a tourism site that is chock full of information! We have also done a lot of the heavy lifting for you, visit the ‘Resident Experience’ section of your programs profile to learn more about cost of living, tourism, transportation, and COVID-19 restrictions.
Newcomer Offerings and Welcome Events
If you’re lucky, you may have some welcome events available to you! Be sure to follow any social media accounts or check out websites pertaining to your new faculty to see if they share any information about orientations or events. Yes, they can be awkward but they are for everybody so know you will all be in the same position. Try to make a few connections, exchange details, and stay connected!
Mobile Apps & Facebook Groups
Apps like Meetup and Facebook are another great place to start. On Facebook there are often local community pages or Buy Nothing groups that can help you feel involved. (Bonus: If you need anything for your new space, you can find some great deals or free items!)
Are you keen on sports or getting active? Join a Gym or Yoga Studio! Many gyms and yoga studios offer one month trials at a discounted rate or donation based drop in classes. Join an amateur sports league: soccer, volleyball, flag football, softball, to name a few. Join a hiking, biking, or running group. Are you into sports but not actually doing them? Join a fantasy sports team!
Become a non-profit/charity volunteer
We know you may be hard pressed to find the time, but if you do find yourself with regular spare time you can volunteer that time at countless local non-profits or charities. Organisations like soup kitchens, charity stores, community centres, or animal shelters are always looking for volunteers.
The public library is a gold mine of information and entertainment. Not only do they have books, audiobooks, and movies, they have community boards and librarians that can tell you about the city, local magazines and newspapers listing all sorts of local events.
Attend Local Events
Local events like live music and festivals, museum exhibitions, art installations, pub nights, trivia nights, comedy nights, and more are great ways to meet people! Chatting with vendors at local farmers’ markets is a great way to get to know your neighbourhood.
Become a regular at a coffee shop
If all else fails, hit up the same coffee shop every day. Having a routine and seeing a friendly face feels nice and you may even become a recognized regular!
Remember that most people are in the same boat as you so don’t hesitate to say hello because they are probably feeling the same anxieties you are. Not everyone you meet will be your best friend but being open to new relationships will absolutely get you closer to finding a network of people you can get to know better. You can do this!