How to make some new friends in Switzerland
While few of us dare to admit it, being an expat can be lonely sometimes. If you have a nine-to-five job, you can find yourself strapped for time between working and getting enough sleep, let alone finding the time to meet new people!
To help you along, here are some tips on how to make some new friends in Switzerland.
Follow a course in German or French
Following a German course or trying to learn French will not only enable you to be able to chat with the locals, but it will also mean you get in contact with people in the same boat as you - some new, some here a while, but all new to the language.
Arrange to practise your chosen language by going out for drinks or something to eat and then just let the conversation flow. You never know, you may learn some awesome things about your classmates and decide to stay in touch after the course is over.
Spend time with your colleagues after work
Occasionally going out to a bar with colleagues, if you have that kind of rapport, might be a good idea, especially if they are inviting some of their other friends. I’m not advocating for going out drinking every night, but spending some time with your colleagues after work can help you build a great network of friends.
That would then be a good opportunity to network and grow your own group of friends. Don’t be afraid to make plans with these new people and exchange numbers - you may just find that you gain some very good friends out of this.
Join a club - sports club, comedy club, or something else
After I graduated from university, I fell into a limbo as many of my friends left the city and I was no longer “living the student life”. Eventually, I decided to join a rowing club and it was the best decision I have ever made. Not only did it allow me to work on my fitness, but as I had chosen a team sport, I soon had a group of friends to hang out with both at and outside of the club. It sounds cliché, but I really met friends for life at my sports club.
Now, you don’t have to be sporty, you could also join a comedy club, cooking club, or reading club - it doesn’t matter! Whatever interests you, go for it! It’s truly a great way to meet new people, and as a bonus, they already share one interest with you, so you already have a conversation starter.
Talk to the person next to you on the train
It’s too easy these days to become wrapped up in your own world on the train, with your headphones, book and endless scrolling on your phone. But what use is all that social media, if we have forgotten how to actually be social? The next time you are on the IC, IR, bus or S-Bahn, why not try to talk to the person sitting right next to you?
We, as humans, need interaction; it makes us feel happy, so take the time to smile and start talking.
It’s also just nice to have a conversation with someone you don’t know, and you never know, maybe they are lonely and also need to talk to someone, even if it is just about the weather. You can literally meet people everywhere - you just have to be open to it and overcome your fear of awkwardness. It won’t ever be as bad as you think. And even if it is, at least you have a funny story to tell!
Volunteer at a charity organisation
Volunteering at the weekend or after work is a big commitment, but charity work can feel refreshing and gives you a sense of satisfaction in being able to help others. It also allows you to meet people from all walks of life, not just those you would normally associate with.
Charity work is something that will definitely give you a sense of gratitude for what you have. You will also interact with the other volunteers and, depending on the type of charity work you choose, the people you are helping.
Of course, there are many other ways to meet people in Switzerland. What would you suggest? Let us know in the comments below!
This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Germany.