We are now living in the era of globalization where you can see foreign brands, products and even foreign people wherever you go. Tourists can travel from one place to another easily, very easily compared to a century ago.
In addition to the convenience of transportation systems and access to information that has become easier and faster to date, our intercultural communication is not complete without language skills.
Let's say you already have language skills and are ready to meet new friends. Do you think that it would be so easy to do as easy as approaching someone and speaking their language? The reality is not that easy.
I have lived in an international community for more than ten years. The people around me are from different countries and have different native languages. I find that friendships like these are very unique and beneficial from a personal development standpoint.
Where to find it?
If you live in an international city, you are one of the lucky ones. You have a very large language class. You just need to find and talk to people in different languages or join social gatherings to meet new friends. When there are more foreigners in a city, the opportunity for these foreigners to attend meetings is greater.
However, if you don't live in an international city, don't worry as long as you have a good internet connection. What I mean by a good internet connection is that it doesn't drop frequently. There are Skype, Facebook, or language app groups, for example, Tandem, HelloTalk, or Speaky that you can use to get to know people from different countries.
Now that you know an international friend, what do you need to do next?
Tips and tricks
1. Be Tolerant
Having an international friend means that you will communicate with someone from a different background, it could be a different religion, lifestyle, political views, etc. You need to be more tolerant than before and have an open mind. Be prepared to face different opinions. Remember that your goal is to build friendships. Try to accept the difference, see it as an advantage, as something you can learn.
2. Be Polite
Arguments may occur due to differences in background and remember that you must remain polite in any situation. If you're being rude, then you're definitely wrong, and you might just make matters worse. Things that are commonly accepted by you may not be the same by others. For example, directly telling your international friend that he or she is guilty may not be acceptable in certain cultures. So, think twice before acting.
3. Learn as Much as You Can
It's a good thing to have international friends. You have someone who can give you information that you can't get without the help of foreign friends. I know that you can easily find information on the internet but the internet is a machine, so it is better to ask someone for help. Take this opportunity to learn as much as you can about the country, culture, customs, or even the political situation from your friend.
4. Learn More Languages
I know that you can communicate with people from many countries in English but think again if you can speak more languages, then you can talk to more people from different countries. You can start by learning a language from your international friends, then get to know more people who speak that language or learn another language.
5. Treat Them Like Your Kind of Person
What I mean here is that everyone is a living being like you and me. We are born with different skin colors, have different types of hair, etc., so never observe someone like you are observing something in a museum. The behavior might hurt the person's feelings. You may have a lot of questions that could be sensitive, so always ask permission or apologize first. Better be too polite than impolite.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash