One of the awesome benefits of studying abroad is getting to meet and interact with different people from around the world with other languages, cultures and cuisine and we all know it’s not easy to connect with people.
Forming strong connections and friendships takes more than wishing because these people have different ways of greeting, personality traits amongst others. And regardless of your racial, ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic group, you will need to establish relationships with people whose cultures you know very little about. However, the pros outweigh the cons and the benefits of mingling are huge.
All you have to do follow your heart and you’ll do just fine.
But how exactly can you do this?
Do your homework and background research prior to your encounter and it is also advantageous to learn a few words of their local lingo with apps such as Duolingo as it will make you appear less foreign and help to build rapport easily, while communicating with people from other cultures but be prepared to encounter specified traits and behaviors that are strange. Therefore, keep an open mind but endeavor to dig out what you have in common with them as all differences are superficial and you might find out you have the same goals and ambitions which you can leverage on to build a strong lasting friendship.
Learn Social Intelligence 101; Rule 1- If you want people to open up to you; you have to exude an aura that screams warmth and have real interest in learning about them. Show an open body language, relaxed expressions and proper eye contact; listening to others in this way shows that you respect and regard the cultural difference and are more fascinated by it rather than discriminating and if you are truly sincere in your approach, you’d find people who are pleasantly intrigued by your own culture and interest and will be glad to invite you into their world and also share their culture with you.
Then catch the social bug! Social groups are effective ways of meeting new people whether it is a charity, community service project group, churches or study groups; Through these, you can make new friends but more importantly learn new languages, cultures even cooking and enjoying different meals other than the Nigerian cuisine as well as arts and crafts from diverse traditions but also be an ambassador for your culture and you’d find other people wanting to interact with you!
Concluding, the most important tip is to keep an open mind and remember that when trying to connect with anyone; do it with Love and your heart, with these you can build strong connections and friendships based on trust, tolerance, empathy and warmth
We wish you the best on your journey mingling.