Trying to Make Some Friends

Nothing but me, some boats and lake Como

If there’s one thing that I didn’t really count on when I set off for my year abroad adventure, it was the feeling of being completely and utterly alone. Words can’t really describe how it felt and even if I tried, I don’t think it would prepare you for what it’s really like, it’s just something you have to experience. But in short, I felt very lonely and began to think maybe this year abroad wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

The whole thing was made worse by not having access to the WiFi for the first few days at my house due to some confusion over what and wasn’t included in my rent (one of things that should be simple but turn out not to be in Italy). It sounds silly to be stressing over not having WiFi, when I had just moved to this amazing country with so much to explore and experience. But not being able to use my phone to text, call or go on Facebook I felt completely isolated at the time I needed support the most; It was torture.

I’m going to admit that there was a night or two spent crying into my pillow and it was at this point when I started to question why on earth I chose to do a placement in a small company (10 people) when I could’ve studied at a University where other foreign students would be ready and waiting, eager to make friends. Not to mention the whole Erasmus thing which may or may not involve evenings with alcoholic beverages, which as we all know makes making friends that little bit easier (speaking from experience during Freshers week). Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t have a good time without it but you know…

Instead I was forced to find other ways to get in contact with people. But how to begin? Thank goodness for the 21st century and the internet is all I can say. I don’t know how the previous generation of year abroad students survived without it.

So what did I do?

1).FACEBOOK. I spent ages searching for groups on Facebook, putting anything I could think of into the search bar: “English Speakers in Monza” “Monza running groups” and writing on their wall with pleas of “I’ve just moved here and I would like to meet some people” (in other words, I’m lonely please be my friend!). The very kind intern Lucy showed me some groups she joined to point me in the right direction.

2). CONVERSATION EXCHANGE. I used this website that Lucy also showed me which is really great. Here you can search for native speakers of the language you want to practice and send them a message, with the possibility to meet up after you’ve got to know each other a bit.

4). FITNESS CLASSES. Attempted to join some yoga/zumba but alas:
a) they were either too expensive
b) everything stops in Italy in August so the next “subscription” wasn’t until September!

At the moment 1) and 2) have been mildly successful but it all feels like a lot of effort and not much is happening but patience is a virtue and if I think about it, if I was in England I wouldn’t expect to make friends in a week! But so far I have plans to meet with some people from the Conversation Exchange website, so fingers crossed. The most important thing I think is not to give up. I read something on the blog Handbags and Cupcakes: Year Abroad Life (go have a look it’s really good) that reassured me that I'm not the only one and that actually being abroad you DO have to try extra hard to make meet people.

So then I got back to thinking, this may be harder in comparison to if I was a student and partying the night away but on the other hand for someone who is naturally pretty quiet and doesn’t go out of her way to meet people, maybe this will help me more in the long run.

Oh and my final attempt to deal with loneliness


And that is another story….

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