Making friends, making friends, makinggg frienddsss! The best (or worst) part about moving somewhere new. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college, Spain – it’s all the same and we have all done it before!
Plus, the one thing that everyone in this program has going for them is that they are brave enough to move from their home to a foreign country. After that, finding friends should be a walk in the park.
FACEBOOK & OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media to the rescue (do not worry, those companies already have all your data/information)! In fact, you might actually be able to message a friend through Facebook chat saying something along the lines of – “man I really need to meet new friends when I move to Spain” and then when you log back in 10 minutes later you’ll see advertisements for “10 Ways to Find Expat Friends Abroad.” How does Facebook do that?! It is almost like they are monitoring us…so crazy!!
Anyway, there already exist different Facebook groups specifically for auxiliares in Spain. Some include: “Auxiliares de Conversación en España,” “The REAL Auxiliares de Andalucía,” or depending on your age “30s and up! Auxiliares de Convsación de España.” Most of the people are pretty friendly and it’s a great place to start meeting peeps in your same boat.
Of all the many amazing things that CIEE did for me, one of the best was connecting me to some of my future friends. A FB group was created before the trip began consisting of all the participants located throughout Andalucía, so before I even arrived, I knew which people were located in Huelva. I became fast friends with one of the girls and we ended up living together for the term. It was awesome to know another person would be in the same boat as me before we even met in person. Also, the CIEE orientation in Seville helped big time with creating new amigos.
KEEP YOUR EARS OPEN FOR ENGLISH
This is pretty obvious, but you will be surrounded by Spanish everywhere – the language, store signs, super tight pants, etc. I was living in Huelva for an entire week before I heard someone speak English. One day I was strolling down one of our main streets and I heard two girls chatting it up in English, so I turned around and went to say hello. Turns out they had been in the city for the last 5 months and were part of a WhatsApp group of about 60 other English speakers – more auxiliaries, students, etc. They invited me into the group and from there the doors blew wide open (I perma-silenced the group three days later). Basically…keep your ears and eyes open.
Playing fútbol, joining a Bachata class, going to the gym – there will always be some sort of activity going on, regardless of what city or pueblo you are placed in. Huelva had two co-ed fútbol matches a week and it was an awesome way to meet friends, so take advantage of what your location has to offer. Also, the added perk of joining a dance class is that you might also find your future boyfriend/girlfriend!
The first few weeks (or months) might be tough in the friend category, but I promise that by the end of your year, you will be crying about how sad you are to leave your friends. You can take that to the bank!