local community

5 ways to get involved in your local community while abroad

Your expat experience is only as good as the effort you put into it. To make the most of your adventure, get involved in your local community, be that with fellow expats or locals. You’ll meet new people and try things you’ve never tried before.

1. Log onto Meetup

Meetup is an online platform that helps you to connect with like-minded people with similar interests. Simply jump on the site, click on a category (such as music, sport, tech or family) and discover gatherings happening in your area. Chances are, you’ll find yourself surrounded by friendly, enthusiastic people who share the same passions or life experiences.

2. Join a class

Why not spend your time overseas learning a new skill or improving an old one? If you’re living where a foreign tongue is spoken, then a language class is an obvious choice. But don’t stop there. You could join a choir, learn a musical instrument, discover how to draw or go tap dancing.

3. Become a volunteer

Wherever you go in the world, there are people who need help. You could participate in a structured programme or join an organisation in a casual capacity. Consider teaching children to read, helping out with environmental conservation, getting your hands dirty on a building project or fundraising. You’ll make friends while turning the world into a better place.

4. Join online forums or groups for expats

Many cities, towns and countries around the world have online forums and groups dedicated to expats. Try entering your location + expats + Facebook group or forum into a search engine and see what comes up. Online platforms give you the chance to meet people in the same position as you. You can organise gatherings and, when you’re having a tough day, share your concerns with an understanding ear – or several! More experienced expats might be able to help you with other issues, such as taking care of your Australian tax return.

5. Take initiative

If you’re in a place where nothing much seems to be happening, then don’t be afraid to take initiative. Establish your own online group. Start a meet-up and advertise it around town with fliers. Find a school that could do with some volunteers and offer your time. This might take courage, but it’ll be worth it.

Moving abroad can be exhilarating and a chance to achieve new goals and meet new people. And if you need help with your taxes and finances whilst you’re away from home, remember . . . we’re always here to help.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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