Let’s be honest. Becoming an au pair isn’t only about the children that you take care of during the week, the food you make, or the toys you tidy up. I know that for me, becoming an au pair meant a free way to live in an amazing city. Yes, I did work and it was tough but what made my time in Rome were my friends!
I went to Rome on my own. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t speak the language, and I was lonely. Like I mentioned earlier, for the first few days I holed up. I didn’t see anybody or talk to anyone and basically just contemplated my decision of moving to Rome.
Then, after a week, I pepped up. I knew 3 ways to make friends and those were a) going to an english-speaking church, b) starting language class, and c) facebook.
If church isn’t for you, that’s fine. I made many friends be searching facebook for au pair type sites (ie. Au pairs a Roma) and reaching out to people there (like writing on the wall saying you’d like to meet people for coffee). I have 3 friends that I specifically made online. It was easy! I met them in a populated spot, went for coffee, and from there we became great friends!
Going to language classes is a funny story. I didn’t end up sticking it out. My teacher was terrible and I managed to get my money back after just a few lessons. That being said, I met 2 girls there who became great friends because even after I quit the school we still hung out!
When you’re alone in a new country, anybody and everybody you meet is a potential friend. Always smile, always look inviting, and be willing to go out of your comfort zone to ask people out for coffee or ask people about themselves!
Church, for me, was the BEST way I made friends. At the end of each service the pastor would have us stand and introduce ourselves if we were new. At the end of each service I would beeline it for the new girls who introduced themselves and would ask them to go for coffee. It was totally forward but it worked! I made so many friends it was awesome!
Once you have a few friends abroad it becomes easy to make more. Your friends knows someone else who knows someone else… and then your group develops. It’s amazing!
My top tips in making friends abroad:
1) Be ready to go out of your comfort zone
2) Approach people, don’t wait for them to come to you
3) Always have a smile on your face
4) Brainstorm places you think you could meet people – GET INVOLVED! If you’re into working out, enrol in a gym! If you want to learn the language, start going to language classes!
Bonus tip: Making local friends
This isn’t as easy. I met my Roman friends because they were my neighbours or they were friends of friends. If you go looking for friends in bars or gyms (ie. places locals hang out) then those are the friends you will get! I wanted english friends first which was why those were the friends I got!