It is surprisingly easy to end up spending time only with other newcomers when you are in a new country. Whether it is asylum seekers, exchange students or expat workers, a community that shares the same situation with you can offer security, peer support and much needed social connections.
However, a foreigner’s bubble that can feel safe and comforting at first could later become an obstacle to meeting the locals and immersing yourself in the new culture.
I have lived in two foreign countries, and it took me almost one full year until I managed to make one local friend. I can only imagine how hard it is to do the same here in Finland. Nevertheless, I encourage you to give it a go.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Take a dip into the waves of Finnish grammatical cases, watch local movies, taste all weird dishes and push yourself to make contact with local people. Even though we native Finns might have problems looking you into your eyes.
Getting to know locals could open up a completely new world for you. They will teach you words that you will not find on study books, they will give you the best tips on restaurants and introduce you to people you would not otherwise meet. I bet that you can return home with a lot more experiences.
Miksi vaihto-opiskelijoiden on vaikea saada suomalaisia ystäviä? Lue uutinen täältä (only in Finnish, sorry!)