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Talking to Strangers Abroad

Updated: May 9, 2022

Talking to Strangers Abroad

Moving abroad means literally everybody is a stranger. Depending on where you're living, you may stick out like a sore thumb. For instance, being black in Korea 😊

In every country I've lived in talking to strangers became normal. In Italy, waiters and random people in the park would start conversations with me. While living in Senegal, I blended in more, but I was always eager to spark conversation with everyone. Senegalese are the most sharing and communal people. I had strangers pass me a spoon to eat with everyone without even thinking twice. People that started out as strangers turned into my language teachers and friends.

South Korea took everything to the next level. A week didn't go by without random kids, grandmas and everything in between speaking to me on the street. There, I'd go out drinking with friends and random Korean guys would come over to make 소맥 (beer & soju mix). Korean people are some of the most friendly I’ve ever met & they’re one of the main reasons why I loved it there 🙌🏾

While living in Haiti I became a regular at street vendors in the area who all started out as strangers. After a while, I established my favorite places to go for fresh produce, breakfast and even dinner plates. These relationships turned into great ways for me to connect with people, gain experience with the language, and, of course, get some good food in the process.

In México, strangers have been some of my best allies. My Spanish is a work in progress, but people are genuinely kind and willing to help. From giving directions on the street to sparking random conversations, talking to strangers is not something I fear. There have been so many amazing encounters that came from people I didn't know and that didn't know me. It's really one of the purest ways to connect with people and get out of your comfort zone when traveling abroad.

Talking to strangers might seem dangerous or intimidating, but from my experience people are good. If you talk to someone they'll respond & you never know where it might lead. You know how the saying goes... Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet.

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