Ever wondered how to make new people when you move to a new country? I did the same and here you can find how I solved it!
1. Ask your friends
The first thing you need to do to meet new people is to ask your friends if they might know someone in your new city. A friend of a friend is always more open and helpfull and can give you a first introduction into the new city.
2. Meet with people of your own country
Another thing I did and will be helpful for you, is to connect with people of your country. On Facebook you will definitely find some groups for people of your country who also live in Cologne for example, I am from Belgium and we have the Belgian Facebook group called “Belgian in Cologne”. But with one click on Facebook I saw already a lot of other groups:
Americans in Cologne
Brasileiros em Colônia – Alemanha
Mexicanos en Colonia / Köln y alrededores
ITALIANI a COLONIA (Germania)
Indians in köln
4. Use social apps
Meeting new people in a new country is very easy. You just go to a bar and talk to the person next to you. But saying is one thing, doing is another. So here I will give you some tips and tricks you can do to meet new people. If you are single there are a lot of different dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. There are a lot of singles in Cologne and there will be for sure a person for you. You can explore the city together and learn about the German culture. It helps if you speak the German language, but it’s not necessary.
But with Tinder you won’t find new friends. It will always be for dating people. Therefore, a better way to find new friends is to download Meetup or to join the Internations community (worked better for me). Internations is a community for expats around the world. In every big city you have one. And the one in Cologne is big. Almost every day there are things to do. What I recommend is going to the monthly Internations welcome drink. It is quite scary to go alone, but you must know that a lot of people there are in the same situation as you. At first you get a nice welcome drink. You get a name ticket so it’s easier to know the name of other people there. Then you can join a talking group there. But if you stand alone, there will be definitely someone coming to you and asking you to join. The atmosphere is so open and friendly that you feel directly connected with the other people. Then I will recommend talking to as many people as you can, to find the persons of your type. Change numbers or make a date for the next meeting. The day after the welcome drink you can go to the Internations site and connect with the people you met the day before. Talk to them and have your own social network. If you want to attempt other activities, I recommend becoming an Albatros member, especially for the first three months. For a small fee you can have a busy social live.
With Internations you will have a nice time, meet a lot of nice people. But it will be harder to feel the German culture and to connect with the people of Cologne, because you stay in your expat bubble. If you like that there is no problem of course, but I liked to be more the Local man then the tourist. To be more with the locals it is a bit harder, but I can guarantee you that it will pay off! What you can do is searching for a hobby. For me it was finding a Padel club.
5. Find a sport or a hobby
Padel is the new upcoming and if you would ask me, a very social sport. Especially if you are new in town. The sport is a mix between tennis and squash where you can use the glass walls of the court. It is easier to learn then tennis, so it’s more accessible for everyone. In Cologne there are some places where you can practice it. Der walls padelfactor, where you can also play during the winter. The padel club offers every Friday the Freaky Friday, where newcomers can meet each other while trying the new sport, this is a great way to meet new people in a new country. In the summer I would recommend playing padel at the University of Cologne, because there are the courts outside in the “green belt” of the city. Each Thursday, the university organize a “Padel Pull” where you are in a big group and can play small games against everyone.
At the university there are a lot of other options if you want to practice a group sport to meet new people. You can join a football group, volleyball group, go to yoga classes or dance lessons. There is even a swerkball team if you are an harry potter fan!
6. Go out for a beer!
When you are an extravert type of person, or if you just dare to do it, you can go out for a beer on your own. Nowadays people don’t go alone to a bar anymore. But I don’t see the problem of it. Okay, it is maybe a bit scary but when you did it once it is much easier.