Meeting New People As An Immigrant
Meeting people in a new place can be intimidating but it is also one of the exhilarating experiences. You may have come to the US as a student or on work visa (the points covered below are generally useful for other visa classes like visitor/tourists too). We will cover these 2 categories and show you how and where to meet new people.
If you are going to a college, its easy to make friends. In most cases you will end up meeting people from your own country and make your own circle. This is building your comfort zone and is a good thing in the short run. However, from our own experience, we will ask you to venture out of your comfort zone and meet people from other cultures, especially American citizens. This will help you understand the culture better and you will be better prepared for the real world once you go out to work for someone. Know the sports: One of the easiest way to connect with Americans and make friends with them is to develop interest in one of the sports that is popular in the place where you are living. Acquaint yourself with the rules and follow your home team. This will be your ‘common thing’ to initiate conversation with American friends. This will also help you when networking in the work place (when you start working). American football, Baseball, Basketball and WWF are most popular games in the US. When you move to a new State for work or other purpose, make sure you pick and follow a team that is adored in that State/city.
Be the star of your domain: When a student, be known for your academics and active participation in college events as this will help you connect with more people. When working, remember that you should be known for your ethics and expertise at work, this will instantly put you in touch with all the important people.
Be part of a group: When in college, join an event group, help with the events, meet new people, be seen and heard. When working, join the groups that support development of your ethnicity in your office (most big companies have these kind of groups). Participate actively and make connections.
ToastMasters: Specially useful for people coming from a non-English speaking country. Toastmasters not only helps you hone your English speaking and presentation skills, it also helps you connect with people who share similar interests. If your organization doesn’t have a ToastMasters group of its own, you can join the local group.
Volunteer: Volunteering is the absolute best and easiest way to meet good natured people who share similar values as you. It will make it so much easier to connect with new people when you are working toward a same goal. There are lot of other organizations that you can join and start volunteering.
Meetup: This is one of the BEST ways to connect with new people, no matter where you are in the world. Just go to www.meetup.com and register. After that, search for your interest group in your area. Join them, see when the next event is and show up. You will be surprised just how many interest groups are there on meetup.
Sports/Outdoor adventure groups: Each city has it’s own sports and outdoor adventure groups. See what interests you and join the group that caters your interest. Most of these are also part of meetup but I mention it separately to ensure that you don’t miss out any group that is popular and is not part of meetup.