Interacting with locals and making international friends is one of my favorite things about traveling. I’m more than happy to say that I have got friends all over the world and I try to stay in touch with every single one of them. Sometimes it’s more contact and sometimes less, but I make sure I don’t loose touch with them.
Vsisting a well known sight or going to that famous beach is fun, too but being invited by locals to eat a home cooked traditional meal or hanging out in their favorite bars without any other tourists, that’s the real stuff. Those are memories that last a lifetime.
Locals know their home country best, they can tell you everything about the culture and traditions and they will be curious about your stories, as well. It’s a cultural interchange and in the best case you walk away with a new friend.
When I lived in the US, I met a lot of my best friends. Some Americans and many Au Pair friends from mostly anywhere but Germany. I met people from Colombia, Spain, Austria, New Zealand, South Africa and many other countries and I still talk to almost all of them. To some I talk every day, to others just once a month but I try to stay in touch with everyone.
Same when I lived in Bangkok to teach English. I’ve made such great friends there. Some crazy Thai people I can call friends now among people from somewhere in the wolrd I met at English Camp.
And I learned so much about their lifes and cultures, religions and traditions. More than books or the internet could have taught me.
When traveling in Indonesia a few weeks ago, I met a couple from Tunisia that lives in Paris. My friend and I traveled with them for two days and I
still talk to them, planing a trip to visit them.
That’s the best part, visiting them is always an excuse to travel. Go back to that country you love and stay with them or invite them to your home and show them around, travel to e new place together and meet up there – no matter what but make sure you stay in touch and make it happen because it is so worth it!
Some guidelines to a friendship with a local 🙂
- Make sure you respect their culture, traditions and religions even though they might be very different from what you’re used to
- Learn some words of their language. Every local will break out in a smile when you greet or thank them in their language
- Be open minded for their way of doing things, you chose to visit THEIR country
- Always remain polite, sometimes missunderstandings can arise between two cultures. But no matter what the other person says or hw they act, be nice
- SMILE! Be happy about a new friend