If you are coming to study in an American high school as a freshman (9th grader), it will be much easier for you to make friends since most of American kids will not know anyone either. However, if you are coming as a sophomore, junior or senior, it is going to be a little bit harder. But it does not mean you cannot do it! You will find your friends if you try!
Based on my experience of studying in two different American high schools for my junior and senior years in Chicago and Boston, I made up a checklist of the things that will help you to find friends.
Be preparedYou do not need to have a perfect English like a native speaker but at least you have to understand most of the speaking. I am sure when you will find people you like spending time with, they will be very happy to help you improve your English by explaining some terms and slang words you do not understand. However, to get to this point, you have to be able to talk and show your personality to new people.
The best way to prepare is to watch movies, series and YouTube videos in English. If you are not a big movie person like myself, I advise you to try to listen to different podcasts in English. You can listen to them while going to school, cleaning up your room, and even during your running.
Being proactive is a key!For some of you, it may sound very hard because we are all different and some of us are shy and less outgoing than others and that is OK! However, if you want to make friends that means that YOU have to take an action and do not wait when that one interesting person from one of your classes will talk to you first. The only thing you need to do is just to start a conversation and there you go, now you can understand whether the person is interested in talking to you and how do you like him or her.
Join clubsThe easiest way to meet new people — do activities you like. The best thing about American schools is a plenty of different extra activities and clubs you can do after school. Ask your school councilor for the list of all the clubs they offer at your school. Mark everything you like and go to at least one meeting for each of them. This way you will understand which one you enjoyed the most and you just continue doing.
Even if you are going to study abroad only for one year and you think that it does not really matter whether you have friends or not, I will tell you that it does matter a lot! ‘’A man needs a man’’ — a great quote that shows that we are social beings. We need people to be with us because it makes our journeys much more exciting!