- Wandering Soup
Moving abroad for community- What if it's not there?
Hear me out before you jump in to say that A) you weren't moving abroad for that or B) you found community.
That's not the reality for a lot of folks and that doesn't make you the exception to the rule, it just makes you part of the mass that adjusts to whatever happens wherever you landed, intentionally or not.
Now back to the issue at hand, which is moving abroad for a community that honestly just may not exist. Let me explain. There is a sense of camaraderie that comes to play in some Facebook groups, Youtube comments, Instagram, even Tiktok. You speak to people who live in a city/country and they share their journey, suggestions, and so much more. So much so that you start to think that when you move, you will have an "add water" instant community based strictly on the posts and comments.
And on the surface you might, but lets be real, the same humans who didn't talk to their neighbors in their home country probably won't talk to you in their new country. And if I'm truly honest, Covid-19 hasn't helped. I don't want to hang out with anyone who is just visiting this city even if you tested negative to infinity and beyond.
The American media is not showing Americans in a good light right now. Every day there is a video or article about someone refusing to mask up on a plane or in a place of business. I can only imagine what folks who are on vacation think they can/should be able to do.
All that to say--it takes effort to be a part of community. It also takes more than a post saying you are coming or even a post saying you have made it. Below are a few tips that will help you either join community or build a community in your new country.
1. Make real connections before landing.
Real connections outside of commenting online on random posts. Add them as friends and do real communication before landing. And also recognize that you may not remain friends once you arrive. It happens.
2. Take a language class
Learning the language, even the basics, before arriving will give you a sense of belonging.
3. Family Groups
If you have kids, search for expat family Facebook groups
4. Create community
If there is no community-building that you can see, then build it--they will come! Also don't limit yourself to what you see, feel free to start something new that aligns with your likes, wants, or desires. Love a particular sport such as beach frisbee? Don't see that group? Then create it.