When you move to Bristol, of course you are going to meet new people and encounter a different culture. One of your goals will probably be to improve your English but meeting mother tongue English speakers is not always easy and sometimes you will find yourself in friendships groups with other foreigners. Here are a few tips to help you make friends with local English people:

1 – Never give up!

Don’t expect to meet only English people in Bristol – the UK is a bubbling melting-pot of many cultures. Often the first friends you make will be your fellow countrymen – it is just natural instinct.

After that you will look for something different, and will start to meet more English people finally leaving your comfort zone. This is a great thing, it means that you are integrating, but be patient as it takes time.

2 – Avoid prejudice

You are in a country you don`t really know and understand so don’t fall into the trap of judging people by how they dress, what they eat or how they speak as this will close many doors to you. And who says that we can only get on with people who are exactly like us? They might not be able to cook a perfect paella or a delicious pizza (even if sometimes they think they can!) but…can you cook a proper Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings and all the other trimmings?

4 –  Be proactive

Go out for a walk or a pint, visit an art gallery or join a tennis or football club … just don`t stay at home! If your colleagues organize a night at the pub, jump at the opportunity and join them. Take the initiative and show your colleagues you’re interested in what they are doing or organizing for the weekend! In Bristol, there are clubs and groups for every hobby imaginable; cinema, classical music, cooking, surfing, sailing, running, triathlon, stamp collecting, bird watching…the list goes on!

Another option is to do voluntary work. You will see numerous charity shops all over Bristol and volunteers are always needed in these. Apart from giving something back to the community, working in a charity shop is a great opportunity to speak and improve your English.

5 – Language exchanges

These are very useful and you can find several groups in Bristol. Native speakers of different languages meet up in a pub or a cafe and share their knowledge of their own language in exchange for another language in which they are interested. So for example, you might find a British girl who is very interested in learning French and you could be the right person to help her, receiving in return some help with your English. Moreover, this is one more way to make new friends.