By Nikki Marsden
You’ve been in your host city for a while now. You’ve spent a lot of time with your BFF’s traveling around Europe, taken all of the obligatory study abroad pictures, tried some of the best food you didn’t even know existed, and likely met a lot of other study abroad students. But what about the whole cultural experience study abroad is suppose to provide you with? What about that Italian man who is supposed to whisk you away on his vespa or the unsuspecting royalty you’re supposed to charm your way into marrying?
Okay, those might be slightly unrealistic expectations of the encounters you will have with locals abroad; nonetheless, you will have a myriad of opportunities to meet locals in your host city. You just have to know where to be and what to do to make sure you make the most of the opportunities when they arise.
Take a language class – Not only does this help you learn the language, but who do you think is teaching these classes: locals.
Join a club or volunteer organization – This will not only help you meet locals, but it will help you meet others who share similar values and hobbies as you.
Go places on your own or in small groups – Trying to meet six people at a time is overwhelming for anyone. Go with your roommate to a bar on the opposite side of the city that you are used to and sit at a table with room for people to join.
Go to local bars – Locals do go out in your city, they’re just not at the bars with beer towers and €2 tequila shots.
Assimilate as much as possible – Europeans may have negative stereotypes of Americans. Trying to speak to locals in their own language will go a long way 🙂