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When you travel to a different country, you want to experience all it has to offer. You want to see the sights, you want to taste the food and you want to fit in with the locals. The more experienced you are with fitting in with the locals, the easier it will be to get a real feel for the country. But, how do you fit in with a community that’s nothing like your own? Here are some tips for making friends with local people in a different country.
If there’s one language that’s always understood, it’s kindness. Do what you would normally do in your own country. Smile at the people that pass you by in the street. Tip your waiter for good service and tip your housekeeping if you’re staying at a hotel. Help someone if they drop their groceries or need assistance crossing the road. Kindness goes a long way and locals will appreciate it. It doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire holiday volunteering in a soup kitchen, but don’t forget your common courtesies.
Most people learn a few words before travelling to a different country just in case they’re in a situation where they need to ask directions to the nearest toilet or say thank you for their food. That’s a great place to start. If you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, try and improve your pronunciation with a language app. Attempting to speak to the locals may result in some odd looks or ignorance but there will also be locals who will be thrilled to talk to you in their native tongue and teach you new words and expressions. Be open to talking to people in the local area and you may get pointed in the direction of some hidden gems.
The last thing the locals are going to want is a foreigner coming to their country to tell them all about how their country is falling apart and then getting on a plane to fly back to a better, safer country. Focus on the beauty of the area you’re in. Talk about the wonders of the place to the locals and hotel staff. It’s a great way of reminding them that their country is beautiful and they do have reason to be proud of it. You may find many locals who will want to trade places with you; some desperate to start a life in another country. So, being enthusiastic about your surroundings will help you to form friendships.
No matter where you go, there will always be people who don’t want you there. Nine times out of ten you’ll find some friendly locals to talk to and get information from, but you may come across a place where people like to stay to themselves. They may not trust foreigners after past experiences. When you find yourself in this situation, it’s often best to keep to yourself. As they say, do as the locals do.