Suppose you move to a new country. You are new to the culture, traditions and ways of life. If you do not know anyone beforehand, you would be left out in the open, not knowing where to start, and almost susceptible to social isolation.
Humans, as we all know, are social beings. With the exception of some of us, we all love to be among people, preferably who share similar interests and views. Whether it is a small gathering at home or a large training seminar, we all want to acknowledge that in the end, we established some commonality with our peers.
It’s all well and good in your home town, with your many friends and wellwishers, but how would you best integrate with the community in a new town? If socializing and familiarizing are what’s on your mind, there are many things that you can do.
Here are a few of them:
➢ Find groups that suit you. With social media use so widespread, it is effortlessly easy to find and join a group that engages in regular activities. Facebook pages and Meetup groups are the perfect way to start.
➢ Don’t hesitate to talk to people. If you need help, instead of turning to Google, look for the nearest person and speak to them. It could be something as basic as asking them for directions, or the bus timings. Yes, it is shocking to hear about such brazen social interactions in Finland, but you would be pleasantly surprised to learn how often such interactions lead to a friendship, your very own “meetcute” friendship story.
➢ Find the town’s expat network. Attend their meetings and activities when possible. Such networks function like a support group where you get acquainted with people in the same situation as you are, and realize that it’s nice to live there after all.
➢ Find out if you’re eligible for free language classes, and do not hesitate to enroll.
➢ Visit the town’s youth centre or other notforprofit organisations. They are always looking for volunteers and would be glad to have you.
Such opportunities are no less here as well, in the charming city of Turku. One such organisation is StepEurope ry, that has been active since 3 years, working towards building a strong community where people of different ethnicities coexist. Its wide spectrum of activities vary from something as simple as a coffee gatherings, to bold activities such as ice swimming, gardening projects for the environmentconscious, to trainings, workshops and seminars that promote tolerance and sense of community.
So go out there, have fun!
Remember, communication, leads to community.