Packing up your life and moving to another country, even on a temporary basis, can be hard. Suddenly you’re far away from everything and everyone you know. If you’re stuck, and without a doubt, at some point you will be, it’s hard to know where to turn. It’s important to have a network of people you trust, no matter where in the world you may be.

Making friends with locals is an important part of the experience, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language and the culture. Through these friends you learn how to interact with natives, ways of speaking you can’t learn through a textbook, and things about the country you may never have learned otherwise. It’s also a great opportunity to gain new perspectives which, in my opinion, is never a bad thing. It’s also a good opportunity to share things about your own culture and experiences. Having friends who know the country you’re living in can certainly make living overseas a lot easier and a lot more fun.

For people like me who spend time in a foreign country, it’s stressed that we should make friends with the natives. However, the importance of meeting other foreigners is often overlooked. In my opinion, having foreign friends is just as important. These are the people who will get you through many of the tough times. They will relate to your often similar experiences as a foreigner in a new country. You can share these new experiences, rant about the difficult ones, laugh about the strange and enjoy the very best of them. When you’re in a new place, just having someone who gets it can really make all the difference.

In the end, what I’m trying to stress is the importance of building a network of good people in a new place. Through my life here, I’ve met many amazing people from Japan and all over the world. If you plan on living overseas, I urge you to do the same. If you’re lucky like me, you may just meet some of the best friends in your life so far.