‘Sometimes you have to go far to meet the greatest people.’
An exchange is both scary and excited at the same time. The safe environment is left for a new country, a new city and.. a place with new friends! During a stay abroad, an encounter is made with different people from many different places. People around you might not speak the same language, have the same habits or have dinner at the same hour, but that is what makes it interesting, right? Befriending an international student will not only give you a new (best) friend, but it will bring you many benefits and widen your horizon. So, why should you befriend an international student?
1. Practice your language skills
Most of us, can speak English, but maybe you do not feel confident enough in your English proficiency. By having an international friend, you can practice your English skills easily by just talking about day-to-day life. Or, you are aiming to learn a new language, but you have no one to practice with? An international student can be a great help! You can practice your Spanish skills with your new Spanish friend, so that you will be able to order more than dos cervezas next time you go to Spain. Or, maybe you want to practice a less common language? International students come from all over the world, so there will sure be somebody with which you can practice. And besides, this can be also done the other way around. It is quite fun to help the internationals learn some Dutch words, like gezellig, lekker or broodje kaas!
2. Get to know another culture
While visiting a country, you can get a slight taste of another culture. However, to really get to know another culture, you can also befriend someone from the country you are interested in. You will for sure discover some cultural aspects that will surprise you. Also, you will learn a lot from that person regarding the history, traditions or habits of their home country. So, the best way to explore another culture, might be to find somebody that is an expert in it. And that expert, will become your friend!
3. The experience
International students are mostly for a short time in the country. Therefore, they will get everything out of their experience abroad. Whether it is partying, visiting places or simply cooking, an international student will live every day like it is the last one. They are a great source of inspiration of living the best life. And also, it is nice to experience this life with them, right? Maybe you can show them some places they do not know about, and create long-lasting memories together!
4. You will have a friend for life
After a while, your new (best) friend will go back to their home country. Tears will be shed, hearts will be broken. It is devastating to see that someone you care so much about, will leave you behind. And the worst, you do not know when you will see each other again. All that is left, is you and the amazing memories you made. But wait, it is not that bad actually! Luckily, we live in the digital era, where you can still have contact with each other, even when there is a big distance between you. Also, you can go to the home country of your new friend, and visit him or her in their own environment, so they can show you what their city or country is all about. Or what about a meet up somewhere in a random country in a random place? Do not worry about your new friend being gone, because your friendship and bond will keep existing and might even grow stronger. And that, is the greatest benefit: having a friend for life.
So, what about you? Do you relate to the points of having international friends? Or, are you more inspired to go out there to find some more? Let us know your story!