So you have made the big move. Not a change of postcode type of thing. A change of country. One where you will face many obstacles as you aim to assimilate as quickly as possible into your new life abroad.
When one has made such a major life choice (because let’s face it, this is exactly what this is), there are many unknowns that need to be faced: where to live, where to work, and most importantly where to find people to hang out with!
Travelling alone – when all you have is yourself
The most daunting aspect about moving to a foreign place, involves the notion that you may very well be doing it alone. You’re closest companions may be living in a different time zone – it will probably be a different day altogether!
But deep down you know that you will find a room, a job, and places to explore when you make your adjustment into this far-off land. The one guarantee that cannot be made however, is who you will meet.
But it doesn’t have to be a complete shot in the dark. You have the power to control the type of people you meet, in a place you are only just getting to know yourself. Meet-Up’s are the perfect way to ensure that this exciting experience doesn’t have to be lived all on your lonesome.
What exactly is a Meet-Up?
Meet-Up’s are a little different to social platforms like Facebook, where you can connect with anyone the world over that you share common interests with.
Instead, Meet-Up’s are largely based on a user’s location. Meet-Up is an app (and a website for those non-smartphone users out there); and once a user registers their information, it is really up to you on where you want to go with it.
It allows users to search, join and attend gatherings, whether casual or more elaborate, that take place in their current city; where they can meet other like-minded people, and ideally make new friends.
Anyone can create a group, although there is a fee involved to do so (but you can create a group to your own specifications which is a plus!). These groups can be anything from expat groups, young professionals, weekend fillers, foodies, movie buffs, networking opportunities or dating events. The list as they say, is literally endless.
Usually these groups will meet regularly – most of them either fortnightly or monthly; offering users who join their group the chance to enjoy a night out or a whole day, with other people who are just like you and looking to meet new people.
If you attend these groups regularly, you may even make some meaningful friendships (it’s kinda the point!).
The bonus – when Meet-Up’s really pay off
Since my own arrival in London eight months ago, I have had the opportunity to explore London and its nightlife with other Australian expats, Canadian expats (we are part of the same family after all, and they don’t discriminate by nationality), as well as people who are new to London that want to explore the city.
Joining just these groups alone has allowed me to create some wonderful friendships that will extend long past my time in this city.
My Facebook friend list has expanded to include more nationalities, and I have found friends to discover this wonderful city with, travel with, celebrate birthdays and New Year’s Eve with, ensuring that I never have to go out alone.
Before Meet-Up’s, most people relied on meeting people through work or house shares. Although there is nothing wrong with this line of action (and I have made some wonderful friendships through these aspects too), a person is far more likely to make long lasting, true friendships with people they share common interests and identify with.
The Meet-Up network currently has a membership base of just under 16 million people, spanning 196 countries with 2 million RSVP’s to events per week! With numbers like these, it is easy to see just how beneficial this app can be to any newbie in an unfamiliar place – especially one as big as London.
Travelling is forever changed for me
This app was the life raft I clung to in my initial weeks of setting myself up in London – a city I had only visited once before. It allowed me to feel happy in a place that was not home while I adjusted to the reality of my decision – the good and the bad.
The best thing about it though is that when I finally finish here, or move on to another unfamiliar land, I will have this app to help me connect with others, make more friendships with and network from.
I never have to feel alone in a city ever again, or worry about heading off on my own to somewhere new because there is always someone to Meet-Up with wherever I am; and that’s the best part!
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