When you start your apprenticeship, studies or job in Germany, you might also want to find friends in Germany. Being an international this can be challenging at the beginning. So here our tips.
Don’t stay alone!
When you start to work, study or doing an apprenticeship in Germany as a foreigner, life can certainly be lonely. From our experience, there are quite a few foreigners who have successfully completed their training or studies in Germany, but who have not been able to build up a network of friends.
But how do you find friends when you have just arrived in Germany? We will give you some tips with which other people have already been successful.
- Language and Communication
One of the most critical aspects of making friends in Germany is learning the German language. While many Germans speak English, being able to communicate in German can significantly increase your chances of making friends. Here are some ways to improve your German skills:
- Take German classes: Enroll in language courses at a language school, a Volkshochschule (community college), or even online platforms like Duolingo, Babbel, or iTalki.
- Join language exchange events: Find language exchange meetups or tandem partners in your city, where you can practice German with native speakers while helping them learn your language.
- Practice daily: Use German as much as possible in your daily life, such as speaking with colleagues, classmates, or neighbors, reading German books, or watching German movies and TV shows.
- Understanding Cultural Differences
Making friends in Germany may require adapting to cultural differences. Keep these points in mind:
- Germans value punctuality: Arriving on time for appointments or social gatherings is essential in Germany.
- Personal space: Germans may seem more reserved and value their personal space, so be patient and avoid being overly intrusive.
- Small talk: Small talk is less common in Germany, but showing genuine interest in someone’s life, hobbies, or opinions can help build connections.
- Direct communication: Germans tend to communicate directly and honestly, which can be mistaken for rudeness by people from other cultures. Try not to take things personally and adapt to this straightforward communication style.
- Joining Clubs and Organizations
One of the best ways to make friends in Germany is by joining clubs, organizations, or interest groups:
- Sports clubs (Vereine): Germans are passionate about sports, and joining a local sports club can be an excellent way to meet like-minded people. Popular sports include soccer, basketball, handball, and volleyball.
- Hobby groups: Find groups focused on your interests, such as cooking, photography, hiking, or board games. Websites like Meetup.com can help you find relevant events and groups in your area.
- Professional networking: Platforms like XING and LinkedIn can help you connect with people in your industry or field of study.
- Cultural organizations: Participate in cultural events, such as theater, music, or dance groups, to meet people with similar interests.
- Attending Events and Social Activities
Attending events and social activities can help you expand your social circle in Germany:
- Cultural events: Visit art exhibitions, theater performances, music concerts, or film festivals to meet people who share your interests. Check local newspapers or websites for event listings.
- Festivals: Germany is famous for its various festivals, such as Oktoberfest, Christmas markets, or Fasching (Carnival). Attend these events to experience German culture and meet new people.
- University events: If you’re a student, attend orientation events, workshops, or social gatherings organized by your university or student organization.
- Networking events: Participate in networking events or workshops in your field to connect with professionals and make friends.
- Volunteering and Community Involvement
Getting involved in your local community can help you meet new people and make friends:
- Volunteer for local charities, non-profit organizations, or community events. Websites like vostel.de or betterplace.org can help you find volunteer opportunities in Germany.
- Join neighborhood or community initiatives, such as community gardens, neighborhood cleanups, or local festivals.
- Offer your skills and expertise to local organizations or projects. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you can volunteer to create promotional materials for a non-profit organization.
- Making Friends at Work or School
Your workplace or educational institution can be a great place to make friends:
- Be open to socializing during lunch breaks, coffee breaks, or after-work gatherings.
- Attend company events, team-building activities, or workshops to network with your colleagues.
- If you’re a student, participate in study groups, clubs, or student organizations to meet new people and make friends.
- Be proactive and initiate conversations with your colleagues or classmates. Show genuine interest in their lives and be supportive during group projects or assignments.
- Meeting Expats and International Communities
Connecting with other expats and international communities can make your transition to Germany easier and help you make friends:
- Join expat groups, international meetups, or language exchange events in your city. Websites like Internations.org, Meetup.com, or Facebook groups can help you find relevant events and communities.
- Attend cultural events organized by embassies, cultural centers, or international organizations.
- If you’re a student, join your university’s international student organization or attend events specifically designed for international students.
- Using Social Media and Online Platforms
Leverage social media and online platforms to connect with people and make friends in Germany:
- Join local Facebook groups or online forums focused on your city, neighborhood, or interests.
- Follow local influencers, bloggers, or organizations on social media to stay updated on events and activities happening in your area.
- Use dating or friendship apps, such as Bumble BFF, Tinder, or OkCupid, to meet new people in your area.
- Building Lasting Friendships
Once you’ve started making friends in Germany, it’s essential to nurture those relationships to build lasting friendships:
- Keep in touch: Regularly communicate with your new friends through text messages, phone calls, or social media.
- Be reliable: Follow through on plans and commitments, and be punctual when attending social gatherings.
- Be a good listener: Show genuine interest in your friends’ lives, listen to their concerns, and offer support when needed.
- Organize social activities: Take the initiative to organize get-togethers, parties, or outings with your friends.
- Embracing German Culture and Traditions
Finally, embracing German culture and traditions can help you better understand the people around you and make friends:
- Learn about German history, customs, and etiquette to show respect and appreciation for the local culture.
- Participate in traditional German celebrations, such as Christmas or Easter, with your new friends or their families.
- Try German cuisine and learn to cook some popular dishes to share with your friends or coworkers.
- Travel within Germany to explore different regions, cities, and attractions, and deepen your understanding of the country’s culture and history.
In conclusion, making friends in Germany as a foreigner may require some effort and adaptation, but by following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to building meaningful connections and enjoying your time in this fascinating country. Remember to be open, proactive, and patient, and you’ll soon find a supportive and welcoming community in Germany.
Find friends in Germany: Questions and answers
How can I join local clubs or organizations to make friends in Germany?
You can search online for local clubs or organizations that match your interests, such as sports clubs, hobby groups, or language exchange meetups. Many cities have online forums or Facebook groups where you can find information about upcoming events and meetings.
Are there any popular social networking platforms specific to Germany?
XING is a popular professional networking platform in Germany, similar to LinkedIn, where you can connect with people in your industry. For casual social networking, Facebook is still widely used, and joining local groups or attending events can be a great way to make friends.
What role do language skills play in making friends in Germany?
Speaking German can significantly improve your chances of making friends, as it shows respect for the local culture and allows for more natural interactions. Attending language courses or language exchange events can be a great way to practice your German and meet new people.
Are there any specific cultural norms I should be aware of when making friends in Germany?
Germans may initially appear more reserved than people from other cultures, so be patient and respect their personal space. Small talk is not as common in Germany, but showing genuine interest in someone’s life and hobbies can help build connections.
How can I use public transportation to meet new people in Germany?
Strike up conversations with fellow passengers on buses or trains, as long as they seem open to chatting. You can also join local public transportation Facebook groups, where people often share tips, discuss routes, and organize meetups.
What role do sports play in making friends in Germany?
Sports are a popular way to socialize in Germany, and joining a local sports club (Verein) or attending live sports events can be an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded people. Popular sports include soccer, basketball, and handball, among others.
How can volunteering help me make friends in Germany?
Volunteering for local charities or community events can be a rewarding way to meet people who share your values and interests. Many organizations have websites or social media pages where you can find information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Can I make friends by attending cultural events or festivals in Germany?
Attending local cultural events, such as art exhibitions, theater performances, or music festivals, is a great way to meet people with similar interests. Many cities have event calendars online or in local newspapers, where you can find information about upcoming events.
How can I connect with other expats in Germany to make friends?
International meetups, expat groups, and language exchange events are popular ways to connect with fellow expats and make friends in Germany. Websites like Meetup.com and Internations.org can help you find relevant events and groups in your area.
How can I make friends at work or school in Germany?
Be open to socializing during lunch breaks or after work, and attend company or school events to meet new people. Expressing interest in your colleagues’ or classmates’ lives and being supportive during group projects can also help build friendships.
Many friendships in Germany develop around colleagues. After all, you work with these people for a long time and often get to know each other quite well.
Hobbies and clubs
Germany is a country of clubs. Whether in the field of environmental protection, automobile sports, soccer or politics, very many Germans organize themselves in clubs to pursue their Hobbys and interests. There are clubs in practically every village and in every city on almost every topic.
Conferences, seminars and courses
If you want to make friends in Germany, then experience shows that the chances of doing so are quite good at conferences, seminars and training courses. After all, you get to know each other easily and also intensively at such training courses and there is the possibility for friendships.
Language learning groups
As a foreigner, you will probably still attend German courses in Germany in order to reach a higher level of German. German courses or other language courses are also a good opportunity to expand your social network. You will usually meet people who are culturally open and may even have a similar background as you.
If you want to find friends in Germany this way, look out for language learning groups, tandem learning, etc. on the Internet, in social networks or in notices at universities.
Finding friends in Germany via apps
Very popular, of course, are various apps that you can use to find friends. The advantage of this search is that you can usually select a region and also filter by interests.
If you are a believer or interested in faith, then the church is also a good opportunity for you to build your social network.
In Germany, the Protestant and Catholic churches are dominant, but there are also churches and faith communities in virtually every religious denomination in the country. Use Google Maps or other listings to find options near you.
Facebook groups and other social media
Another way to find contacts in Germany is through social media. Especially local Facebook groups are a good way to get information about events and news in your area.
These then give you the opportunity to meet with others and get to know people in your area. There are also Facebook groups with a thematic focus: simply search here in the keywords for your place of residence or place of work.
Discos, festivals and other events
As in other countries, discos and other musical and cultural events are a good way to make friends. In Germany, too, there are discos that cater to specific age groups. At the so-called Ü30 or Ü40 parties, for example, you can also find contacts with people in your age group.
Social workers and foreigners’ commissioners
In many places you will also find social workers and foreigners’ representatives who are especially concerned with the integration of internationals in Germany.
These people will give you free assistance with your social integration and can also give you tips on where you can network with others and possibly find friends. You can usually find contacts to social workers and foreigners’ representatives on the homepage of your city.