Building Community

How to build a community (or find one) abroad:

IF you're moving to a new, unfamiliar land, something that will help with the transition is if you have a community, a group of friends, a support system that you can rely on to help ease the transition to foreign life.

Living in foreign countries, I've developed a strategy that works well for me. Hopefully, this will be of help for you as well. This advice is tailored to living in Asia, but should apply to anywhere.

Step 1: Develop an initial community of other western expats


Whether this be through a job, a youtube channel, a community such as Globekick, or Facebook groups (try "Expats in _____"), seeking out "other others" is a great way to ease your transition and give you community while getting your feet settled. Whether you stay with this community or transition deeper into the local community, having a familiar base can be very beneficial for your mental and emotional health while transitioning to a new environment.
BEWARE THE BACKPACKER TRAP: Be wary of falling into a circle that is destructive rather than supportive. Habits such as excessive drinking and partying are common among western expats abroad, and unless that's what you're looking for, can derail your long term goals. Keep in mind the reason you left home to travel, and don't lose your way.

Step 2: Make inroads into the local community


Get on Tinder or the local Tinder equivalent.
Tinder is a great way to find locals (and expats) in a foreign land with English ability. Tinder is a dating app, but has so much more use than strictly hooking up. Meet people using Tinder, meet their friends, build a community. 

Step 3: Find a working community


Whether it be through employment, or volunteering, finding a community in a work environment is important for your social health abroad. Finding people who enjoy doing what you enjoy doing, and working with them towards a common goal, will build community and comraderie abroad.

Take this advice, comment your thoughts, and don't be afraid to get out there and build a community abroad--it's good for your health and sanity.