How to step out of your comfort zone and start making American friends?


Not so long ago, I had a chance to talk to a couple of international friends.

They told me how lonely, isolated it feels at times.

That's true, easy-going and welcoming people are hard to find.

How would you even approach them to simply say “Hi”?

The brief survey conducted by me shows the following results:

Q: "Is it easy to make friends with Americans? How many American friends do you have?"

Lichao from China: "It’s next to impossible. I don’t have American friends."
Victoria from the Philippines: "No way."
Alan from Latvia: "Americans are friendly people. But it’s difficult to make friends with Americans."

It definitely takes a lot of courage to break the fear and melt the ice!

However, don't assume that American people are not open to spending a quality time with someone from a different country.

What would stop you from having a wonderful chat?

Here are the questions for the conversation to start:

- “Hello, you look (happy, worried, excited, hypnotized). Am I right? What’s going on?
- “What’s your career or long-term goal?”
- “What movie do you recommend me to watch?”
- “Do you cook?” “What are your favorite restaurants/clubs?”
- “Do you keep pets?”
- “Where do you reside?”
- “Have you ever been to Europe or Australia?”
- “Anything exciting you are working at right now?”

The other important point is to learn how to write and say your new friend’s name.

Expect the American people to be curious about the culture of your own country, that’s right!

  • Be ready to share your own adventures, give some travel advice.
  • Stay on top of the daily news, politics and celebrities extravaganza.
  • Create a business card. A simple detail that helps to save a precious time.

The other piece of advice is to join various conversation and interest clubs.

Those are the perfect spots for bringing new people into your life.

These are my favorite ones:

The ASA Conversation Club with Prof. Derek Baylor! They meet every Thursday from 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. at Room 838,  ASA College, Manhattan Campus.
IMG_1694_cropInternational Students at ASA College, 1293 Broadway, New York, NY 10001, (212) 672-6450

67th Library, 328 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065 conversation club. They meet every Saturday from  11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's organized by The New York Cares volunteer organization.

The Friends of the United Nations English Club provides opportunities for advanced-level English learners to interact  with native speakers, while exploring the City.

The English-Speaking Union of the United States promotes communication and open exchange of ideas among the world's speakers of English. Member series include British Mystery Book Club, Poetry Night, Play Reading, and British Cinema.

There will always be something that you and a new friend have in common.

“Hey, we should grab a coffee/have a lunch sometime?!” is a great way to invite them.

In NYC there are plenty of chances to connect and explore.

See the upcoming exhibits, that offer a chance to learn more with your friends:

Guggenheim Museum
Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better, through April 20th, 2016

Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective, through May 15th, 2016
White Cabinet and White Table, 1965, image courtesy MoMa

The most important is: "Be smart! Be brave! Don’t Worry About Making Mistakes!"

Posted in: ASA College, Blog

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