On 30 July, we celebrate International Day of Friendship, a day to “promote and defend a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship”, according to the United Nations. Friendships help to confront crises and challenges, and no matter if these challenges are small and nagging, or big and seemingly insurmountable, friends are there to offer their help and support along the way.
For expats, having a great circle of friends is particularly important to get through the challenges and upheavals which are common in an expat life. When your family and your home country are far away, other expats and global minds can offer a safety net and even become your family abroad.
This month, we celebrate these friendships, new and old, with you. Whether you’re heading to a party with a new friend, or attend a picnic with a global mind you have known for years, our events and activities are the perfect opportunity to keep these friendships alive. However, above all, they are also a great place to meet new people and start new friendships abroad.
Dancing on Rooftops
What better way is there to celebrate friendship than to overcome weekly challenges together. One such challenge is the Sunday night blues. InterNations New York tackled this problem head on with a Sunday Rooftop Rendezvous. On Sunday, 9 July, InterNations members and their friends gathered on a lovely rooftop to enjoy the view and make new connections.
On Friday, 23 June, it was time for beach and fun in Bonn. Our members met at Strandbar, located directly at the Rhine, for a summery get-together. They celebrated their expat friendships over a welcome drink.
On the same day, members in Wiesbaden-Mainz practiced their dancing skills at a Summer Dance Event. Cantina, allegedly the coziest place in Wiesbaden, opened its doors for us to enjoy a fun-filled evening together, complete with dancing lessons in Salsa and Merengue.
Coffee Breaks and Icelandic Sweaters
Have you ever bonded with someone over food? Trying new dishes or sharing recipes from your home country are perfect ways to grow closer together. The Hague Speak Italian Group attended an international food fair together on Saturday, 1 July. The Haagse Wereld Hapjes is a great place to try something new and learn more about the culinary background of your new friends.
While parties are a great way to get out and meet people, many prefer a more relaxed setting. The Stockholm Coffee Break Group, for instance, is made for chatting and sharing stories in comfy coffee shops. On Saturday, 8 July, the group met up for Saturday Morning Fika at an Italian gelateria. Given the rising temperatures, swapping cinnamon rolls for ice cream and sorbets is not a bad idea.
Birthdays are a time to spend with friends, but many of us do not celebrate due to busy schedules. The London Picnic or Afternoon Tea Group gave everyone a reason to celebrate, be it their birthday or not. Group members met on Sunday, 9 July, for a picnic at Regents Park to open some presents and enjoy a few drinks together.
Bonding over local customs which you haven’t quite gotten the hang of yet is a fantastic way to start off a new friendship. On Wednesday, 12 July, our members in Reykjavik had the opportunity to experience an Icelandic tradition with their expat friends: Lopapeysa, or Icelandic sweater, festival. Our members donned their favorite Icelandic sweaters and, with a wonderful view of the old town from Petersen Suite’s rooftop, enjoyed and evening of traditional Icelandic fun.
International or local, old or new — we want to know how you celebrate your friendships. Tell us more about how you spend time with your friends in the comments.
Image credits: InterNations