One of the main drawbacks at being an expatriate is that you are, without doubt, seen as an outsider of society at first. The same happened to me, back when I arrived in Munich. I can remember a time when it was really hot outside, lovely sunshine, weekend... inviting for doing something. And what did I do? I played computers indoors, not because I really wanted to but because I was bored. Integrations with the locals did not work (I have written an article why here)
You are new to a city and everything is exiting and new! The countryside has not been visited and you could go travelling, you could go and learn new stuff, you could go hiking... BUT... there is no one to share the experiences with or to go travelling with. The easiest therefore is to find a social circle in your new city.
And here we have a new problem. Finding a new friends circle... I cover this in another article.
After that fateful day spent in front of my computer while the sun was shining outside and everyone else was outside by the river, I decided to do something. I started travelling around the countryside, and it was fun. Yes, you can have fun travelling alone. Although...
I got to be honest. I was used to travelling alone and meeting new people on the way and spending my time shooting awesome photos... I had just come back from travelling solo for 14 months and meeting new people on the way (that was an awesome life! Wish I could do it again...). I was used to doing stuff on my own, meeting new people and simply enjoying the experience of seeing new stuff. I understand that this would not be possible for the big majority of people out there.
Neither would it be for me anymore, as I am living the happy married life now :)
That title is the key to living as an expat. You got to find other people who share the same passions as you. Here I do not mean a life partner, although I have covered this part here, but I mean a social circle of friends. And when you think about social circle, you immediatly get to think about social networks.
Nowadays in the time of Facebook, people think that your best chances are to meet people on there as everyone in on there, but that is not the case. Facebook was built, and is making money of, people staying online. So the majority of people you will have contact with are actually the people you already know and that you have contacts with: the people back home. That will just increase your homesickness and make you feel worse. I have written two articles about it here and here.
Meetup is not much better. It is made for meeting up people for an event and the chances of you meeting them ever again are not very high.
International Friends is a local social network for expatriates. That means that each city has its own social network for expatriates where the expatriates congregate and go on events together. That is the perfect opportunity for you to a) meet new friends and b) go to events together.
Sure there are events created often but, honestly, you became an expatriate because you wanted to explore and have awesome experience.
The easiest is to create an event. You do NOT have to be a professional organiser or anything. All you are doing is indicating that you are yourself going and therefore would like to find other people to join you. Everytime you create an event, you are inviting everybody so the chances are good that you will find someone to come and travel with you (you can also set a maximum amount of people that you want to go travel with).
From experience, I can tell you that the easiest way to get settled in your new country is to organise events. The more you organise, the more people you will get to know.
So don't be passive, but organise events and let your active expat life be the adventure that it is!
It is normal that at first you will feel bored on the weekends. However, with International Friends being present, you have the choice if you want to keep on being passive (and bored) or if you want to be active and join events and even create some.
The world is your oyster and since you have already decided to become an expatriate, go out there and explore it!