It can be hard for anyone in a new country to make new friends and meet people, but for someone who is not very confident communicating in English, it is even more difficult. Here are a few tips on meeting people in Melbourne.
1. Join a language exchange!
Since Melbourne is a multicultural city, you’ll meet people from various walks of life. There’s no better way to get to learn about different cultures, share your own experiences, and improve your speaking and listening skills than by joining a language exchange. For more one-on-one conversation, you can try signing up to Conversation Exchange or even try Gumtree’s community page, but there are also several casual weekly meetups around Melbourne.
If you’re in the city and enjoy a drink, why not check out Fluent Fast at the Melbourne Central Lion Hotel, or Mundo Lingo at Whitehart Bar on Tuesdays and the European Bier Café on Wednesdays? And for the younger crowd, there is also Melbourne University’s Language Exchange Club, just a short tram ride from the city centre.
There is also the popular app Tandem, which allows you to find conversation partners based on interests as well as location.
2. Enrol in an English language school!
Worried about your English level and don’t feel confident enough for language exchange? By enrolling in an English language school, not only will your English skills improve, but you are guaranteed to find people who have similar goals to you. English schools provide a welcoming environment for students to mingle, and often give students the chance to take part in fun activities together outside of the classroom. What’s not to like?
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3. Get active!
Living in a new city can be expensive, and it’s not always possible for those who want to keep fit to sign up to a gym. One way to stay active and motivated is to find a group of like-minded people through the website Meetup. You can join a group to jog to a café, play indoor soccer or futsal, or do yoga in a park, all of which are free or pay as you like.
Outside of Meetups, there are other free or reasonably priced recreational groups, such as Latin dancing, ultimate frisbee, and the popular Facebook group JETsport, which also allows you to establish your own exercise or sports class.
4. Lend a hand!
Volunteering is an often overlooked way of not only making friends but also gaining work experience in a new country. International students can look up visa and legal requirements at Volunteering Victoria, which also has information on different opportunities within the region, the benefits of volunteering at each specific place, and how to apply. And for those 25 and under, Youth Central also lists many organisations that young people can contact for volunteer work, from the arts to social justice to environmental groups.
5. Be proactive!
Get out, try new things, and don’t be afraid to talk to new people. In the end, the best way to make new friends is by having a positive attitude, an open mind, and not staying at home all day in bed watching Netflix. Melbourne is a diverse city and with plenty of free and easily accessible events and places to visit if you only care to look. So, put on your biggest smile and get out there!