When you move to a new country, you'll probably want to make some local friends. However, you may well also want to make friends with some other expats, both from your own country or others. Partly that will be to get some support and advice on being an expat in the city (beyond what this site can offer!), partly to have friends in a similar situation to you, and partly it could just be to find others new+friendless in a new place!

Presumably, once you know a few expats somewhere, they'll be able to tell you about other expat events, where expats tend to hang out, mailing lists or forums or something like that. However, until you've managed to meet a few, it can be hard to bootstrap into the community.

So, as a new arrival in a new town, how do you go about finding and meeting other expats there?

(Note that this is an expat-specific version of the related Travel.SE question on Meeting other people while traveling)

10 Answers 10


I've used Meetup.com in both Vancouver and Melbourne to find:

  • people with similar interests to me, for hobbies etc
  • other expats
  • my flatmate used it to organise dates

there's usually a 'New to the city' type group that you can find and join, or even an expat group, and then you go to their next meetup event and get to know them.

  • 1
    Might be worth mentioning that if you're at one of those events, it's often good to ask people "what's happening tomorrow / friday / sunday / etc", to get recommendations for other related groups and events that aren't on meetup!
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 15:07
  • Same here, there are a couple of meetup groups for Brits in Los Angeles, and there's also a facebook group called Brits in LA. They tend to arrange (informal) events of some sort. Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 15:59

Two other options:


The best and easiest way (out of personal experience) is restaurants. Any expat, especially new ones, will need sometime until he/she get used to the local food and first thing new expats will look for is home food.

Restaurants that offer home country's food will be the best place for meeting other expats, most of them will be missing home as well and they will be socially willing to meet other's from the same country and share experiences. Also, there will always be a restaurant for a certain cuisine as long as there are people from that certain country. I have myself made some friends while living abroad whom I consider now as very close friends.

Other options would be different international "towns", such as China towns (in many large cities in the world) or India Towns (in many large cities around the world), or the Arab streets (London, Kuala Lumpor, Bangkok, etc.). If you are from one of the large expat communities you must find such a place almost all around the world. A simple google would tell you where. The good thing about these "towns" is, it does not only let you meet people from home, but also gives you that dejavu feeling, it just makes you feel home.

  • This depends. I know for a fact certain ethnicities will abhor their own people - thinking of them as leeches and people who will then feed off of them. Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 23:03

If you are the churchgoing type, you can often look for services in your language. Depends on your denomination and the size of the town you're in, but has worked for us in the past.


I lived in China for 10 years.

The best way I've found to meet new people is to introduce yourself :) Ha kidding...but seriously.

Foreigners are like family overseas. Don't be afraid to say hello. We're all in it together.

You will by far meet the most people and find where most foreigners congregate in western restaurants and pubs - many families and individuals go to both of these.


I recently came from a 6 month trip where I (US citizen) was living in Argentina. The site that I found the most helpful was Couchsurfing. I found out about this happy hour run by an English guy that expats and travelers would go to when they were visiting Buenos Aires. People would come specifically to practice languages that they were learning. I started dating this other really cute expat that I met at one of these events(she's Brazilian) and I also made a few American and Canadian friends.

Check the events page on Couchsurfing for your city.

Another site that I'd recommend is a site called Internations. It is a social network specifically for expats.


There are plenty of websites where you can start interacting with people and then get to know them, get recommendations for events, where you will meet more people, just look for expat sites that have active forums, some examples are:

But the best options are forums about finding jobs for your spouse/partner and specialised food stores, any expat store, or grocery store that caters to the international community will have people on the same situation as you and they, usually, will be open and friendly.

Finally, schools. This rivals the first place with grocery stores. International schools or even local schools are a central social point where you are going to meet a lot of people. There you can have any kind of easy conversation that can evolve in having a coffee and after that, many doors will open, you just have to be a bit social and a bit proactive.

If you want a more select/reduced group, then you can go to clubs and there you will also meet, most probably, expats, it just depend on what kind of sport or activity you like.

And lastly, hotels, in expensive hotels or resorts you are going to find expats, and is usually easy to approach people when they are relaxed, just don't be too pushy or intrusive. In hotels, you may find people that even if they don't do any activity or socialization, may know how to get the information or who to ask for it.


Hash House Harriers. Sadly, not as active world wide as, say, 10 or 15 years ago, but the perfect start to meeting up with expats, if there's a chapter in your city.


In my experience Twitter is the best way to find the heart of the local expat community. Expats will always be tweeting and discussing local happenings, politics, etc, and planning meetups and the like.


I'm used to move from one country to another... and desperately used to make new local and expats friends. It helps a lot concerning tips and advices, places to go and visit, etc...

It's quite easy to join an expat group on facebook, internations or meetup, but then you'll have to dare going there when you don't know anybody yet. Try to find "newcomers" events, there are many in big cities, at least once a month ! That way you would be happy to get to know people who also just arrived and want to discover places and visit the city.

So, you just arrived in a new city? Try to find the best tips online and dare joining !

  • 1
    Assume that's your blog? We require you declare this. I've removed the link for now.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 14:16
  • Examples would be nice
    – Karlson
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.