Coming to a new country usually means that you barely know anyone around. Sometimes it can be quite a task to meet new people, especially when you are introverted or shy. So we are here to answer two main questions about making new friends: where and how?
So. Where are those new people hiding?
1. ESN events
It is the easiest way to find not only all the Erasmus students but meet locals as well. Besides, ESN will help you to explore culture, visit new cities, try new sports, and get engaged in social missions. All kinds of adventures you can think of are here!
Roommates are really lots of fun! Ukrainian dorms have this very cosy atmosphere where you talk till 5 am, even though you have an exam next day, where you share food that someone’s mom made, where your roommate is the one to drag you out of the bad thoughts with a cup of tea. Your roommates can become your family. Also try meeting people in the kitchen. The bond that was created over the struggle of cooking is the strongest!
There are lectures, workshops, movie nights in English in Kyiv. For example, you can visit the American House events. There you can find people who want to grow personally, meet new people, or simply develop their language skills.
4. Uni canteen
Sitting next to someone who sits alone is a good idea. You can make a new acquaintance and light up someone’s day!
The trickiest question is how. Some people are overly shy when it comes to starting a conversation, and Erasmus students sometimes have the feeling that locals are not interested in them: they have old friendships, established routines, a job. There are some advises on how to break through those stereotypes and finally get out of the shell.
1. They are interested
Locals love international students. Just as you are here to learn a new culture, they will be happy to learn a culture from you as well. It broadens horizons and inspires them to travel, change their mindsets, or simply find out something new. So don’t even think about being annoying or unneeded - you are very welcome to talk and share your experience.
2. Conversation starters
All beginnings are difficult, but a conversation is a cherry on top. There are some conversation starters so you always have what to say (hint: introduce yourself and ask their name first):
• How is the snowless winter treating you?
• What do you study?
• What is your favourite class?
• What do you think about... (anything that is around you)?
• What is your favourite thing to do?
• What is your dream travel destination?
• Yesterday I’ve seen such a nice movie. It’d called... What is your favourite movie?
• What is your place to be in the city?
• What dishes should I order here? Any recommendations? (Hint: don’t use in the places without food)
3. Don’t forget to listen
Sometimes we ask the question, the person starts talking, but we are so worried that the conversation will die out that we are desperately thinking about the next question and forget to listen what the person is saying. Just listen!
4. Don’t forget to share something about yourself
Asking questions only won’t lead you anywhere. If a person sees that you are not telling anything about yourself, they will become suspicious. Besides, it is not an interrogation or an interview. If you keep on asking, it will look just weird.
A person seems uninterested or answering very shortly? Not your fault. Maybe they had a bad day or aren’t in a mood to talk to anyone right now. Moreover, you can’t click with everyone. There are your people who you instantly feel a connection with, and there are people who just aren’t. So don’t get upset when you find not your kind of person. Everyone goes through that. It is okay to just smile and stop forcing the convo.
We hope that you will meet the nicest and cosiest people during your stay in Kyiv. The only thing you have to do is to just start talking!