So you packed up all your belongings, did piles of paperwork, struggled through your auslander appointments, and found an apartment that’s double the price you are used to paying. Phew! The hard part is done, so it’s time to play!
You are so excited to settle into your new home in Switzerland. You want to go out, explore your new city, hike those mountains, taste all the chocolate, and try new restaurants and bars! You grab your phone to invite a friend and are quickly reminded that nope, you don’t have anyone to call yet. So you go out on your own, ready to meet your new city. It’s great for a while, but it gets a little lonely while you start to notice groups of friends gathering around you and enjoying each other’s company.
The fact of the matter is; making friends in a new city or country is no easy task, and takes some time and patience. Luckily, in this day and age, there are many tools out there to help us. Are you new here and looking to make friends? Or have your friends decided to leave Zurich, leaving you behind? It’s time to start getting creative with your friendship making, so we’ve listed out our tried and true ways of making friends in Zurich in hopes to help!
At the Office
Sure, this one is obvious. But you can’t just walk into a new office and expect everyone to flock to the new person. You have to do a little work! Invite someone to lunch with you, join the coffee breaks, and see if anyone is up for a drink after work. People are busy and already have their own routines, so if you want to make friends at work, don’t just sit back and wait for it to happen, make it happen!
Meetup & Online Forums
Meetup is an online platform to connect people in a casual way based on your interests. There are hiking groups, art groups, German language groups, girls night out groups (like Girlfriend Guide events!), fitness groups, mom groups, and even ‘desperate housewives’ groups (don’t knock it, we’ve made friends there!). Meetup makes it easy to find friends with similar interests in your area, and many of the events are free to join. Similar to Meetup, there are many online forums that offer fun ways to meet other people. Like the English Forum, InterNations, GLocals, Zurich Facebook & Yahoo Groups, and more. Just check them out, see if it looks like a place for you, and if so, see who is up for a walk by the lake or a drink after work!
Join a Club
There are many clubs that are English speaking, making them a comfortable place to go. For example, the American Women’s Club offers many events, and is open to members from non-US residents as well. If you contact the embassy of your country in Zurich, they can provide you a list of offerings that might be of interest to you. We’ve also found a short list here, that you might find useful.
Meet Friends of Friends
Be open to meeting your friend from college’s mom’s friend’s daughter…or someone that is 3+ degrees of separation from someone you already know. No, you might not do this in your own country, but when you hear about someone that is moving to Zurich that somehow knows someone you know, just meet them and don’t think too much about it. We’ve made some of our best friends that way!
Taking German class is a 2-for-1-er! You get to learn a new language, while being surrounded by people that are most likely newbies like you. Since you are all in the same situation, you have easy talking points and fellow students are most likely open to meeting new people as well.
Join a Fitness/Sports Group
You might not meet people at one of the big gyms, but if you head to a class specific to your interests, it will be easier to meet some like-minded individuals. Yoga studios, dance classes, running clubs, soccer teams, tennis clubs, cycling studios, pilates studios, barre classes…try them all out and see what you like! After seeing and chatting with someone a few times, don’t be afraid to invite them to coffee after class.
If you have extra time on your hands, you can use it to help others and meet people at the same time. It’s not the easiest thing to find volunteer opportunities here in Zurich, but we do know of Tischlein Deck Dich, Room to Read, and American Cancer Society and they are usually looking for volunteers.
Remember, once you meet someone, set up a time to meet again. It’s not like dating – you don’t have to wait a certain amount of days to call a new friend! We’ve heard it takes 6-8 interactions with someone to start feeling a connection, so the more often you see each other, the faster you will start to feel comfortable around your new friend. So as tempting as it is to stay home and watch a movie on a Friday night, go out and get friend-making!
Please add to our list! How did you make friends when you first moved here or to a new city?
Article contributed by: Zuri Girl Caitlin, a San Francisco native and Swiss chocolate addict. You will most likely find her in the kitchen, the yoga studio, working on her latest craft project, or writing all about it on her blog, teaspoon living.