talking to strangers waaaahaa
August 24, 2012 10:13 AM Subscribe
Studying abroad for a semester. I'm rather shy, so any advice for getting out of my shell and making the most of my time in a foreign country?
posted by myntu to human relations (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an American studying in Sweden for a semester as an exchange student. I'm 21 and female, if that helps. I consider myself relatively shy, though I open up a lot more if I'm talking with one or two people.
I hate to admit that I'm still uncomfortable in Sweden after a couple weeks of being here. The food's weird, the dominant language is different, most everyone looks different from me (my family's Chinese) and I have no friends here - more or less a small group of acquaintances who are in the same boat as me. So far I've gone out to bars, dinners, etc. with larger groups though I admit I don't enjoy them. Yet I still go anyway in hopes of meeting new people.
Anyway, the school semester will begin soon and I realize there's lots of outlets to meet people - clubs, classes, floormates, and so on. But I'm one of those introverts who need a lot of alone time yet goes nuts if there's no one to talk to for a couple hours. Skyping with my friends back home has been nice though I haven't been doing it often and I can't help but let my anxiety about being in a new place still unestablished get to me.
Some days are fine - I love exploring the outdoors on my own. A day in a nearby city with one other classmate with whom I feel comfortable talking to, that was interesting. Other days are ehhh - I hate seeming like loser staying in at night and just reading a book. To be honest, I'm not completely sure what I enjoy doing the most beyond watching films and swimming, so this trip is of course supposed to be one of self-discovery. I'm going WWOOFing (ie. volunteering at a Swedish farm) with a classmate for a week tomorrow, so that'll be exciting since I've been thinking about it for a year and did all the planning. Hopefully I'll travel alone to another city for a bit on some weekend I'm free - I think that would boost my self-confidence.
I realize, of course, that it might take a while to find a group of friends. I'd like some advice about how to open up a little without losing what's essential about me. About approaching random people without feeling awkward (hell, I hate asking questions). About adjusting to a new country. About maintaining a sense of balance in establishing a new (though temporary) life.