You are going on exchange and it is going to be super awesome. You are counting the weeks, days, hours and even minutes! However, one thing still worries you: how am I going to make friends?
This was the number one thing I thought about every single day before going on exchange and it was really getting me on my nerves. On top of that, I was super shy too so, I thought my chance of making friends in the U.S were zero.
When I arrived in the U.S, my area coordinator hosted a party for all exchange students in my area so we could get to know each other and to make sure we had friends from the beginning. That was fine but I also wanted American friends. You know the ones you see in the movies, road trips, parties and such as.
During lunch on the first day of school, I was standing there with my food looking over the whole cafeteria. I told myself: “Alright Dayanan smile, make a good first impression and don’t screw up.” I was scanning the cafeteria with my eyes for cool people because who wants to be with the not so popular kids.
That was my mistake. I was too hooked on trying to be with the popular folks that I completely ignored the people around me who obviously wanted to be friends. I was being too fancy and felt I only deserved a certain kind of people and I swear it is a thing we all do. Therefore, my honest advice to you on how to make friends during the first day of school is to be yourself, smile and have a positive attitude. I want you people to have such a good time that I wrote a manual (lol).
- The first day of school you meed to wake up early, take a shower, put on some clothes, and spray a little deodorant. During lunch walk up to a random table and introduce yourself. For example, “Hi, I’m Dayanan and I am from Denmark. I am the new exchange student and was wondering if I can sit with you guys.” 9/10 they will same yes. In case they say no, which will seriously never happen, just try a different table. It is not weird or creepy at all. Now once you find a table where you can sit don’t I have a few pieces of advice: don’t brag, don’t trash talk their country, don’t say “In Germany, we have this and that blablabla.”. Nobody likes a bragger.
- Join some kind of team sport. I personally enjoyed soccer and track & field a lot and made many great friends during that. Sport brings people together and you are forced to talk to the people around you. Same rules apply here for engaging with other people. No bragging, trash talk etc. So good so far? All right.
- Stop trying to befriend only the popular kids. It will definitely bite you back sometime. Be open towards friendships with everyone. They are unique and cool in their own ways. Be open-minded and don’t judge.
- If you find some friends and they drive you around which happens a lot in the United States offer to pay for some gas or a cup of coffee. It is a nice thing to do and they’ll respect you for it.
I hope you enjoyed this short article and for more tips check out our eBook ‘The Ultimate Exchange’. It has helped thousands of exchange students so far with various problems they have had during their exchange.