In this episode of Ask Pete Anything I answer Ali’s questions, “How do I make more Aussie friends?”.
Ask Pete Anything: How Do I Make More Aussie Friends?
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Ask Pete Anything.
Today I’m going to be answering a question from a listener Ali, and thank you so much Ali for your question. He wants to know how to get in touch with and become friends with other Australians. And so, obviously, you guys whether or not you’re in Australia you can apply this if you’re in America, in Canada, in English, in any country that speaks English [or any country really]. So, I guess I’ve got a few pieces of advice.
The first would be when first coming to the country try and avoid becoming close friends with other people who speak your native language. That’s not to say don’t become friends with other people who speak your native language because often if you meet them it’s kind of inevitable. You’re going to obviously have a lot in common. You’re going to want to speak your native language, and you’re going to want to hang out and feel like you’re at home. But, try to avoid falling into the trap of only surrounding yourself with people who speak your native language, and people who are from your own country, because I feel like a lot of the people who do this in Melbourne end up in that trap of only spending time with other people from their home country and only speaking their native language. And so, you miss out on being able to practice English, on being about to become fluent and reach a high level in English, and on meeting a lot of Australians let alone all the other people who speak English that live in Melbourne or in Australia or any other country that is an English speaking country. So, that’s piece of advice number one: try not to surround yourself with other people from your home country or who speak your language.
I guess too I might add that a good example of this is that there are a lot of Indonesians, a lot of Chinese people, Korean and Japanese people, um… and a lot of Spanish people as well, Colombians, Spaniards, a lot of people who come over here to Australia and then I get to meet them and learn a bit about them and then I see that they only have friends outside of work or outside of whatever it is that I know them from that are from their home country. And an example of this could be all the Thai people that I work with only hang out with other Thai people outside of work, and even in work we have probably four Thai people at work, they all speak Thai to one another at work. They do speak a bit of English but I would imagine that the only time they speak English is when they’re at work. And so, I don’t feel like they’re improving their English like they could be if they avoided always spending time with other Thai people. And, it… it’s a hard thing to do because it is very easy to obviously meet other people from your home country and become friends with them, but you kind of have to force yourself not to do that if your goal is to get a very high level of English and to meet other English speaking people and become friends with them and set up a life here in Australia, or wherever else it is. So that was advice… piece of advice number one.
Number two. I would say be active. So, if you’ve just come to Australia and you are staying in a hostel obviously you’re going to meet one, a lot of other people who are also staying in a… in that hostel and are traveling in Australia. So, it’s a good thing to get together and get out, and just do social things. Go to cafés, go to restaurants, go to pubs, go to clubs, go sightseeing, and just meet other people. Chat to other people you see at the sights, you know, just be friendly, be open. If you both are looking at or seeing the same thing there’s always something that you can chat about obviously, you know, even if it’s a complete stranger you can say “Hey, how’re you going? What do you think of this?” whatever it is that you’re looking at or seeing at a certain sight. Or maybe even a restaurant you’ve just gone to, you know. If you’re leaving the restaurant and you bump into someone as you leave, you see them and you’re like “Oh what did you guys think of this place?”. So, I think that is one of those things. Go out, be active, go to places where there are a lot of people and just… just be chatting, you know, talk a lot. And eventually you’re going to meet a lot of people, and even if you don’t become good friends with these people you get to practice your English. So, that’s my second piece of advice. Just go out, be active and surround yourself with other people who are speaking English.
A third piece of advice would be: try and sign up for some kind of class or some kind of activity, a recreational activity, a hobby, you know, it could be going to the gym, it could be doing yoga, it could be doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you could go to a painting class, you might even go rock-climbing. Any of these kinds of things where there are going to be a lot of other people around interested in the same thing that you’re doing who have the same hobby, the same interest. You’re going to certainly have a lot in common if it’s something that you like and it’s something that you do on a regular basis. So, you do it quite often and you’re seeing those people all the time. It’s going to be almost unavoidable that you’re going to become friends with those people. And this is what happened with me and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. So, when I started jiu-jitsu here in Melbourne I met so many new people because every jiu-jitsu class had like 30 or 40 people in the class, and you would get to talk to them all during the class, you’d roll with them, which is what we say when we fight with them, and yeah you would see them, you know, every second day, every third day, you’d see them every week. So, I really really think that finding a class or some kind of activity or hobby that you like doing, that you can go and do on a regular basis is a… a really really good way to meet like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you. So, that’s piece of advice number three. Sign up to something like a yoga class, the gym, any sort of activity you’re interested in.
The fourth one that I would suggest, which is a really really good way of meeting Australians who also might be learning your language is go to some of these language learning events that are on especially in Melbourne. Any of the big cities around Australia are going to have a lot of language learning events, and the good thing about these is that they’re on a regular basis. So, every week, for example. They might even be on two times a week. So, the one in Melbourne that I’ve been to is Mundo Lingo, and this is on every single week, and there tends to be 300, 400 people who show up. And so, it’s a really good way of meeting one, a lot of foreigners who are also learning English, and two, a lot of Australians who have an interest in learning other languages one of which might be your language that you can speak. And so this is also good because it’s easy to strike up a friendship with the people you meet in these places because you have a shared interest in languages, and you may also be able to teach them your language while they teach you their language. So, yeah, it’s a very very good way of meeting not just Australians but foreigners who are learning your language, who are speaking English and learning English, and who obviously have a lot in common with you.
So, that’s probably it. Those four pieces of advice. I guess trying to recap on them would be:
- Try and avoid just becoming friends with and surround yourself with people from your home country.
- Try and go out more often. So go to cafés, pubs, and just be around other people who want to also learn English. So, surround yourself with people who share the same goals as you with learning English, whatever it is, if you want to improve.
- Ah, piece of advice number 3 is try and sign up to something like a class that you have as an interest whether it’s going to the gym or doing yoga, jiu-jitsu, painting, whatever kind of interest you have, try and find a way that you’re going to mix with a lot of people every week, and see those same people, and it’ll almost be inevitable that you will become friends at least one or two of these people.
- And then the last one is try and go to language meet-ups, at least at first. You’re going to one, have a chance to speak your own language with other native speakers as well as people who are from the country you’re in, assuming that’s Australia in this case, and they’re going to have a shared interest with you with wanting to learn languages. And so, it’s going to be easy to talk to people there.