Social Question

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

How to make friends in a foreign country?

Asked by nailpolishfanatic (6617points) April 6th, 2010

So my mom got accepted in the University or Kobehagen , in Denmark. We are moving in August…I am going to do IB, International Baccalaureate. Dad called the school for me and they said they have space for me to get in…but I just have to write them on an A4 page the reason why I want to do IB. I am finishing 10th grade in the end of May or something. I am a shy person and sometimes I have difficulties making friends:(, Do you guys on here have any suggestions?
And also how can I earn some money before I go?

p.s I am 15 years old girl and I don’t speak Danish.

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29 Answers

bob_'s avatar

Good luck! My advice is simple: just be yourself. Just relax and go with the flow.

Also, let me know if you need any ideas for the “essay” you need to write.

squirbel's avatar


Always smile at people, and they will most times come and speak to you. That’s how to make it in the world when you’re shy/not a conversation starter. And remember to make eye contact!

msbauer's avatar

i dunno how you can earn money BEFORE, but when I was over in spain studying i got a job, more or less under the table, at a language school teaching english. i guess it was less teaching english than just facilitating conversational classes, but i made some nice dinero. fortunately, these classes were all in the evening so i could do them after my own classes during the day.

mass_pike4's avatar

trust me they will love you and they will love to here the stories of the things you have done in the US because it is interesting to them and you have experienced things they most likely have not. Try to learn about their culture and tell them the things you enjoy to do. A foreign student is always intriguing so enjoy it. I know you’ll be nervous at first but you willl get sed to it and love it!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@bob_ thank you, and yeah I will let you know;)

cazzie's avatar

Hi! I remember your story from an earlier post. You’re from Iceland, right? You’ve had some Danish at school, right? I thought it was still mandatory there, perhaps not. If you’ve learned Icelandic, Danish will be a snap. I’ve been in Norway for about 8 years and I can read Danish pretty well (so close to written Norwegian..) but I can’t understand them when they speak. ;o)
Just dive right in there. You’ll find people with similar interests. It’s quite cosmopolitan. You’ll be in a school and learning environment, so most people will be speaking English as well.
If you’re crafty, you could make stuff and sell it on
BEST of luck. Lykke til!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@cazzie , yes I am from Iceland…and hope the comment you just gave in ‘ll work:)

davidbetterman's avatar

Learn the language.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@davidbetterman , I think its a little too late for that…

CyanoticWasp's avatar

May I suggest, very gently, that you learn to say what is relevant… and leave out too many other details that don’t move the story along?

For example: :“I’ll be moving [from Milwaukee or wherever] to Denmark later in the summer. How can a 15-year-old American girl make friends there when she doesn’t speak Danish?”

The stuff about your Mom’s acceptance, an IB for you and an essay written on A4 paper, while important to you, is not important to the question that you’re asking. If you hold conversations in this way, you will bore people to tears. (I know, because I had this conversation with my wife for nearly 20 years before I gave up listening to her stories entirely.)

Otherwise, making friends is the same in any language. Be friendly, smile and say hello and then see what happens. If you can learn to say hello in Danish, then so much the better.

bob_'s avatar

@CyanoticWasp Providing some context doesn’t hurt. Take a chill pill, dude.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Thesexier I see that now. But you see my point, right? Tell the story and learn to edit yourself so that the story is interesting, contains all of the relevant details and none (or at least a minimal amount) of extra detail that doesn’t move the story along or at least add necessary color to it.

As I was reading the detail of your Q, after reading the Q itself, I was considering your mom’s academic career, the fact that your dad is making arrangements for you to go to school there, the type of degree or diploma that you’ll be getting, what you might have to include on your essay… and the fact that it has to be on A4 paper—only to find that none of that matters. I tend to avoid people (such as my ex-wife) who load up simple stories and questions with details like that, which detract from asking and answering a very simple and honest question: “How does a shy teenage girl make friends in a new place where the language is different?” That is a good question… all the detail that goes with it takes away from that.

Exhausted's avatar

@CyanoticWasp you sound like my husband. I think in details so I relate in details. When someone tells me something, the details are relevant because I need them to process the information. Just because details bore you doesn’t mean that everyone else is bored by them. If you state a synopsis of your point, I’m going to ask a thousand questions so I will have the information I need to understand the complete picture. No offense intended.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Exhausted I don’t want to beat this to death… and I think it’s on life-support right now. “Relevant” details—absolutely and without question. A4 paper? Come on.

Exhausted's avatar

You’re right, pull the plug.

Trillian's avatar

@Thesexier Try to take the underlying advice and don’t be offended by his bluntness. Having offended many by honest forthrightness myself, i understand what he is saying.
If you must, think of yourself on American Idol. @CyanoticWasp is like Simon. He’s blunt and he doesn’t sugar coat anything, but he produces records for a living and in that business he knows what he’s talking about. If you want to do better, you listen to Simon and take his advice.
I concur especially as you’re learning a new language. Pare down what you want to say to essentials and let people ask you questions about extras. you’ll learn the language and maybe at the same time what it is that is important to connversation and what is “filler”.
Best of luck to you!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Trillian thank you.

I did say “gently”, right? And I wasn’t really at all rude, was I? And the advice at the end really did address the underlying question, didn’t it?

I produce records for a living, too: written records that are pretty clear, forthright and as accurate as possible.

thriftymaid's avatar

This is very exciting. You will make friends, especially with IB. Your task will be to learn the local language; start now. Good luck to you.

bob_'s avatar

@thriftymaid is right, I forgot about that part. Doing the IB, you’ll spend a lot of time with the same people. They’ll become your best friends.

Trillian's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I didn’ tthink so, but I’m just as blunt as you and therefor not a reliable source. My main philosophy in life has been; “If you want sugar coating go buy a doughnut.” Hugs!!

jazmina88's avatar

smile, and babysit til then.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Trillian and there is some of the best advice yet: buy doughnuts! Who doesn’t love doughnuts? (Maybe some Danish… they may never have had it!)

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@jazmina88 , but I have never babysat? (babysitted)xD I don’t know what to use… any way never babysitted here in Iceland:)

mattbrowne's avatar

Learn at least the 100 most common words. Show interest in cultural differences. Ask people how things work in Denmark. They will be happy to tell you.

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