Travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences that anyone can encounter in this world. No matter your personality, whether an introvert or an extrovert, there is just something about travelling that turns a page in your world. The benefits of travelling, however, do not come automatically; you need to make a bit of an investment. Meeting local people can be one of the most important things you do when you land in a new country as a foreigner because it truly opens a world of possibilities to you.
Our goal is to let you walk away from this article feeling that you have no choice but to meet local people the next time you arrive in a new country because you are amazed at how beneficial it can be. Expect to read:-
- How to
discover and plan a meeting with local people
- Staying with a family
- Using social media
to plan with local people
- Indoor activities
- Outdoor activities
for meeting local people
- Builds language
- Improves knowledge of culture
- Easily blend with the people
- Become a local yourself
- Share the country with others
- Cheatsheet and Key takeaways
How to discover and plan a meeting with local people
Meeting local people is rewarding but it definitely takes some planning. There is no one size fits all approach because the kind of people you choose depends very much on your personality, what you hope to achieve during your time in the foreign country and how long you want to stay. Let’s look into three of the easiest ways to meet local people.
Staying with a Family
A host family is one of the easiest ways to get immersed in the culture of a foreign country and experience life in the country firsthand. If you travelled with a desire to learn a new language, it can be very rewarding because you can practise your language speaking skills at every point in time. Of course, there’s food! What nicer than getting to enjoy local food without having to pay the expensive costs that restaurants would usually charge.
Staying with a host family is a popular option among students travelling abroad. If you are a student, speak to the coordinator of your study abroad program; it will be among the options available to you. For non-students, check out from your travel and tour centre about how you can have access to a host family.
If you decide to choose this option of meeting local people, there are some tips to keep in mind to get the best out of the relationship and experience.
- Bring a gift from home to your family. They want to learn as much about your culture as you want to learn about theirs and a thoughtful gift opens the door to this.
- Communicate openly, honestly and respectfully. Interact with them as much as you can, accept the food they offer but respect their rules and boundaries.
- Be patient and willing to adapt. Just like all relationships in life, you may not agree with everything they do and say but they are your family now so adapt and enjoy the great sides of them.
Using social media
Social media is a very popular tool nowadays that can help you do almost anything. It will definitely come in handy as you try to discover ways of meeting local people. From actual tour guides to random people online that can make your stay in a new country more exciting, here are some ways of using social media to meet local people.
- Just ask. Get onto your Facebook or Instagram timeline and ask to meet local people in the new country in question. Chances are a friend of a friend who knows a local person so they will easily link you up.
- Find people on your own. Search for people on social media who seem to know their country pretty well from the nature of their posts. Reach out to them. Be as open and transparent as possible so you don’t seem phoney. When you do meet, let it happen in a public place to protect yourself and the other party as well.
- Use apps. There are apps specifically meant for matching tourists with tourist guides. Go ahead, download a couple and start searching for the perfect local people to make your stay in the new country more exciting. You may like to check out tourHQ.
Sometimes, you do not want your travel program to be too structured or rigid. Planning to meet local people in advance which is what usually happens with staying with a family or using social media is definitely not the best plan for such a trip. In this case, you might want to consider meeting local people in an unstructured way. Take a trip to a coffee shop, restaurant or fast food joint. Observe as the local people come in and out and strike a conversation with someone who walks in that interests you. You can decide to spend the rest of the day with the person if they are available. Or try the beach and have the local person show you the best activities or street food to enjoy. You can even incorporate a night or two with a family. When you are freestyling, all you have in mind is a plan to be meeting local people one way or the other without being necessarily specific or structured about it.
Activities to plan with local people
After finding the perfect ways of successfully meeting local people what next? It’s time to plan some activities with them. Whether it is with a family, tour guides or other local people, there is an activity or two that will work best for both of you. The activity you choose will once again be based on your personality and what exactly you desire to get out of the trip.
Indoor activities are most ideal for introverts. You may also be an extrovert but want to have quiet moments during your trip. Here are some indoor activities ideal for every traveller.
- Board games
- Museum visits
- Shopping at Malls
- Watching movies and stage plays at theatres.
If you are particularly keen on improving your knowledge of the foreign language, indoor activities are a perfect choice. They also expose you to a great deal about the culture and history of the people.
Outdoor activities let you go wild! They expose you to so much more about the new country and leave you feeling thrilled. Even if you are an introvert and would usually prefer to stay indoors, try an outdoor activity or two during your trip. You surely wouldn’t regret it. Here are some activities to choose from.
- Amusement parks
- Walking tours
Each of these activities gives you the chance to interact with even more local people, get to know the country a bit more and have an appreciation of the culture of the people.
Reasons for meeting local people
Now that you have found a way of meeting local people and planned some activities, you might be wondering why it is important to do this to start with. What are the top 5 reasons why meeting local people opens a world of possibilities when you land in a new country as a foreigner?
Learning how to speak a new language can be a daunting task. However, speaking the language makes it a whole lot easier. In fact, once you can speak, you will be able to write what you can say 4. Meeting local people allows you to speak the new language throughout the time you are in the new country. You will leave the country with a far higher level of proficiency than when you arrived.
Improves knowledge of culture
Learning a new language is the first step. To have a more beneficial and rewarding experience, it is important to build your knowledge of the culture of the new country. Meeting local people does this perfectly for you. They will expose to you the foods most loved by the people, the places most people usually like to visit, the dos and the don’ts of the country among others. When you can answer the question: “What is special to people in this country?”, then you are sure you have gained a fair knowledge of the culture of the people.
Easily blend with the people
Most of the time, it’s not so fun to be identified as a tourist wherever you are. There are times when you just want to fit in even though you are not home. Once you have successfully learnt to speak like the people and act like them, you can almost pretend to be like them.
Become a local yourself
You have probably come across someone you met either in your home country or a new country who didn’t look like a local but could easily pass a local. Chances are they spent a great deal of time meeting local people when they landed in the new country as a foreigner. If you are thinking of making a complete shift to a new country, you need to be meeting local people to become a local yourself within the shortest possible time. This will help you easily settle down in the new country.
Share the country with others
Thinking of blogging, vlogging or just boasting to family and friends about the new country you have recently visited? You can’t say much about a country you don’t know very well. By this point, you should already know that the best way to learn and experience a new country is by meeting local people and making them a strong part of your time in the new country. Once this is done, go ahead, share the country. Make some bucks or just get some flex.
Cheatsheet and key takeaways
- A host family is one of the easiest ways to get immersed in the culture of a foreign country and experience life in the country firsthand.
- Meeting local people allows you to speak the new language throughout the time you are in the new country
- If you are thinking of making a complete shift to a new country, you need to be meeting local people to become a local yourself within the shortest possible time.
- When you meet local people, let it happen in a public place to protect yourself and the other party as well.
If you want to meet new people in Bulgaria register at MEC .If you do it now you will receive a bonus of 5 point for special events 🙂
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- 2. Matt, N. (2019). My Favorite Cheesy Tourist Activities and Why I Love Them. [online] Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. Available at: nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/overrated-and-cheesy-tourist-activities/ [Accessed 31 Oct. 2019].
- 3. Sagal, K. (2019). 10+ Things to Do in LA When it Rains (Popular Indoor Activities).
- Go City Travel Blog. Available at: gocity.com/blog/5-family-friendly-places-to-go-in-la-on-a-rainy-day/ [Accessed 31 Oct. 2019]
- 4. Weiler, A. (2019). Discover how to improve conversation skills for learning languages. [online] Strategies in Language Learning. Available at: strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/how-to-improve-conversation-skills/ [Accessed 31 Oct. 2019].