There maybe some of you out there that think you should try and not have friends who are native English speakers. I disagree and I think you should have English speaking friends, and for many good reasons. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have friends from that country, in fact I urge you to. In an ideal world you should have a mixture of both, but sometimes that can be difficult.
To discuss your problems with your new foreign home. No move abroad is completely smooth. You will get homesick at some point and you will go through culture shock. The best way to get through it is to talk to someone who is going through it as well because they understand. Also it’s great to complain together about all the red tape you have to go through. A native never really wants to hear how their country fails at things.
If you are an English teacher to speak normal English. I was an auxiliar (English language assistant) and I spoke English everyday at work, but it wasn’t exactly stimulating conversations. The primary children spoke about all of their favourite things and the high school students were all gossiping. Sometimes I just wanted to speak in my language without hearing ¿Qué? every two seconds or be able to make a joke that is understood.
To travel around your new country. Normally people don’t travel around their own country that much, I am guilty of it too. When you are in a new country it is only natural for you to want to explore it. Your fellow English speakers are the ones who want to travel and who have the time and means to do it. Although if you do make friends from that country you may have the opportunity to explore their hometown with a local.
To have people to celebrate special days and holidays with. Chances are that they don’t celebrate all the same holidays and if they do they might not celebrate it the same way. This past year I got the chance to experience thanksgiving because I had American friends who didn’t want to miss out on the holiday. We got a turkey and everything. Of course us Brits were given less profile veg dishes, but all the Americans made all the trimmings. While of course they would have loved to have spent the day with family, an adopted expat family was a good replacement.
When you are abroad your friends become your family. When it comes to those special holidays you all gather together and make each other feel like you are at home. While I have always been close enough to be able to fly home for Christmas, I have always had a pre friends Christmas, and if for some reason I never made it home for Christmas those friends would make a great substitute.
Don’t let anyone tell that you shouldn’t have English speaking friends, because you need them. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through my time living abroad without any English speaking friends. They helped me make a home in my new foreign surroundings and they were the best friends I could have. Although while having English speaking friends is great you should try and meet some people from that country too. After all you should try and learn something about the culture, language and the country you are living in. Otherwise what was the point to go in the first place?
Do you agree? Should you have English speaking friends abroad? Comment below or tweet me @sunshine_lorena