If you’ve just moved to Germany, there are few things you need to sort out first.
Once you’ve found an apartment, done your Anmeldung, figured out the health insurance system, opened a bank account, got a German SIM card and signed up for some personal liability insurance, you can FINALLY breathe a sigh of relief and start concentrating on enjoying your new life.
Next priority? I guess it has to be making friends and meeting people!
So, we’ve listed 7 great ideas for the best ways to meet people when you’re a newbie expat in Germany.
Socialising as an expat: how to make friends in Germany
Meetup was founded in the US as a means of bringing people together with like minded interests.
It’s free to register and create a profile, and also in most cases to join the various groups. You can search Meetup based on your interests within a certain radius of where you are living.
In major German cities there are plenty of expat and international meetup groups, and most of them are free to participate in.
Typical international meetup groups on the site are for activities such as drinks and dining, hiking, sports, yoga, travel and cooking.
Meetup allows individual groups to charge membership fees, payable through Paypal on the site. Many groups remain free though and as such, it’s a great way to try out a few different people without making a financial commitment.
Meetup’s business model is that they charge fees to create and administer a group, but do not actively control or manage any of the groups themselves. These are all managed and administered by Meetup members themselves, usually with the help of a small team of organisers and event coordinators. The vast majority of expat / international groups are not-for-profit and are run by volunteers.
A German company, headquartered in Munich, Internations’ mission statement is “connecting international minds”.
It is free to register a profile on Internations but then they try at every opportunity to get you to upgrade to their premium Albatross membership, which works out at €6.95 per month if you pay annually.
If you’re not an Albatross member, you pay a one-time fee each time you wish to attend an organised event. The business model of Internations is therefore very different to Meetup.
Other than registering a profile and being able to send contact requests to other members, most other functions require Albatross membership. For example, any of the sub-groups serving specific hobbies and interests within a branch / chapter are only accessible to Albatross members.
The main advantage of Internations is that it is aimed specifically at expat professionals. Therefore, as a means of meeting new people and to make friends in Germany, it is perhaps the most targeted and obvious route.
Events are usually very professionally organised, popular and well attended. Typically, events are aimed at professionals and tend to be hosted in more upmarket bars and restaurants.
Internations maintains close control of all of the different branches or chapters in each country and city / region and they are run by one or more ambassadors.
Tandem Language Partners
We already covered this in one of our previous articles about learning German by encouraging you to make contact with native speakers in an informal environment.
If you want to brush up on your German online before dipping your toes into these events, then taking an online course with Skillshare or Udemy, or using an virtual tutoring service like italki is a great idea!
You can find a language partner through matching websites such as Tandem Partner. Or, if you prefer a more social setting, language exchange meet-ups such as those organised in several German cities by My City Language Exchange offer just that.
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