As a foreign national moving to study, work, or simply experience life in another country, things can be a bit intimidating – especially for those having to learn a new language. It’s not surprising to find you’ve made close friendships while studying at an English School, as there are so many others that share common factors with you. And it’s wonderful to have the possibility to meet life long friends that are a long way from where they grew up. But I find that, as foreign nationals, we tend to only make friends with people in our situation and neglect the friendships we could and should be making with the rest of the country.
I think we often fear we will be rejected or feel left out, and of course there are sometimes those people that do give us a cold shoulder because of our nationalities, but the reality is that we are most often the ones that give a cold shoulder and don’t give anyone the chance to befriend us.
Since moving here 6 months ago, I’ve noticed myself accidentally doing the same thing at times. As the wife of a Scotsman, I have had the pleasure of meeting his family and friends and calling them close friends of my own. But I realize, that without my husband there as a common factor, I haven’t done a great job on my own of making friends with anyone that isn’t living abroad. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
We quickly find ourselves in a holy huddle with other foreign people living in the country, talking about all the ways in which our culture is different from Scotland’s (even though I’ll admit, it can be a terribly interesting subject).
But my point is – it is easy to learn grammar and even conversational English from your tutor at SSE, but it will come so much quicker if you throw yourself into Scottish culture with Scottish friends. I can’t see a better way to feel more at home than having friends here that will always be there for you. So get out of your comfort zone! Go for a road trip or a night out or even a day in with a group of friends who know Scotland in and out.
– Abigail McCormack, Administrator/Media Manager