Road with forest around

Finding your people as an expat

A little bit about me and finding my people

The truth is, being an expat comes with a lot of challenges like I have mentioned before while writing about overcoming challenges as an expat.

And one of the biggest challenges we all go through is finding our people.

What did I do to find my people

When I moved to Edinburgh, in February 2018, I was scared because I had never lived by myself, let alone live in a country where I knew no one.

You know, right before moving to Edinburgh (the first city I moved to by myself), I went to meetup and looked for groups that had activities that I could enjoy and where I could potentially meet people and make friends.

And that is how I started my journey to meet new people.

I went to Meetup and joined the book club in Edinburgh. I ended up talking to the organizer about all things such as where were the best places to live in Edinburgh, how was the cost of life and so much more.

Even though I knew the organizer, when I moved to Edinburgh, I still had that feeling of being alone and not even knowing how to meet my people.

The first few months were hard to say the least but I knew I needed to go to networking events to meet new people otherwise I would never make friends and the truth was I wanted to be happy there and I wanted to make friends that I knew I could count on and that would start feeling like family.

When did everything start to change?

Women with dog

Everything started to change when I connected with people that I felt I could be myself around.

And I let go of people that I always felt I couldn’t be completely myself around, that in some extent I would need to filter myself around.

This happened after I started going to at least one event per week and just trying out even when I was afraid of not finding my people.

And I started truly listening to my gut instinct about who I loved being around.

Listen to expats stories on finding your people

How can you start finding your people as an expat

Ok, so you know now what I did, but what can you actually do?

As I usually say, this is not just the “Just do it!” attitude.

This involves some steps and practices that will help you develop the skills to meet people that truly make you feel at home.

Even if right now it feels impossible to find your people and impossible to stop this feeling of loneliness, let me tell you, it is 100% possible!


Feeling lonely is a feeling that most of us, especially expats, have felt or will feel eventually.

And the first thing I would recommend is staying with it, connecting with yourself and telling yourself, it can change.

And, instead of telling yourself, “I shouldn’t feel like this” or “I should feel better”, just asking what would you tell a friend that told you they are feeling lonely? What would you tell them to try?

Seeking connection with people in your life

Girl looking at the lake

Sometimes we can feel stuck with the feeling of loneliness and we can feel like that feeling will never go away and that can leave us in a freeze response, in not knowing what we can do so we stay home and don’t do anything because anything we do feels too overwhelming.

And we end up asking ourselves, “what’s the point”? And we can end up in this loop:

  • You feel lonely
  • You go to an event
  • You don’t meet people that you connect with on that ONE event
  • You ask yourself “what’s the point”?
  • You don’t go to more events
  • You don’t meet new people
  • You feel lonely

So one thing I always tell clients to do and that I do myself as well is seeking connection with people that are already in my life.

Be that calling, texting, whatever it might be, just by reconnecting with people in our lives no matter where they are based, we can start seeing that we are not alone.

Connecting with your future self

After connecting with what you are actually feeling right now and being present with it, one thing that is really important is understanding, what do you actually want to feel in the future?

How do you want your people to make you feel?

What are the types of people you want to have in your life?

Facing obstacles

I could be writing that you’ll be able to find your people as soon as you go to events and that you will create a perfect expat life.

But, the truth is, life is messy and there will always be challenges that make us re-think what we want and that make us grow but that doesn’t mean they are easy. Not at all…

One thing that we can do when thinking about what we want is also thinking what can wrong? What obstacles might be on your way?

And you know, one of the obstacles that can be the most in our own way is ourselves (hello, self-sabotage!) and the way we look at life.

Like when we go to an event, it doesn’t go well and we assume every single event will go that way (the so called over-generalization)


When we go to an event, we find someone that we could potentially be friends with but we tell ourselves it is just one person, it could be more… (which is the so called discounting the positives).

Here I really want to encourage you to ask yourself, for every thought you have about finding your people as an expat, is that thought helpful? Is it helping you move forward?

Tiny action

After all of this, what can you actually do to find your people?

The reason why this is the last topic of this post is because the first thing is not taking action, the first thing is connecting with yourself, understanding how you feel and how you think and what you actually want.

It is accepting yourself, accepting what you are and aren’t doing, and discovering what you want.

And then, then it is the time to take action!

For finding your people there are plenty of things you can do, including:

  • Going to international events
  • Finding new hobbies and joining groups that practice them
  • Posting on local Facebook groups

Listen to more practical tips on finding your people as an expat

What does this all mean?

Road with forest around

The goal of this post is to help you reflect and to help you take action at the same time.

I have been where you are and it can seem like it will always be the same but the truth is you can take action in your life to create a different outcome.

You might not have control over the outcome of your life (a topic for another time) but you do have control over the action you take to move towards the goal you have.

The important thing is knowing what you want, connecting with your future self, learning from your past self and taking action to move forward.

Reach out

One of the main parts of my job as an expat coach is helping expats with all these steps, with reflecting, with connecting with themselves on a deeper level and learning the skills to overcome any challenges life throws at them.

If you want to know more, click below and book a discovery call!

How it is to work with me

Wondering what do I help expats with and how does it all work? Click below to know more!

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