Travel has never been so popular! With the advent of Pinterest, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet it has become easier than ever to explore the world through our phones, tablets, and computers. As a result of following these daily travel sites, 55 percent of American millennials are open to moving to another part of the world.
But it can be scary to leave your own country without knowing anyone abroad. That’s where expanding your global network comes into play. We are constantly adding to our networks everyday.
Just look at your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram accounts. Your digital network is a reflection of the connections you have made with various people over the years.
Now think about this network on a global scale. How many people do you physically know that live in cities around the world? Establishing friendships with people from various parts of the globe can have a vast effect on the opportunities and experiences that are available to you.
Tips on how to expand your global network:
1. Get to know your local hostel.
Hostelling is one of the best ways to meet people from all over the world. You may be surprised to find some of the coolest hostels with amazing people in your city…right now! If you don’t know where to look, try Hostelling International USA (HI USA).
With over 50 hostels in the United States and 4,000 HI hostels in over 90 countries, there is most likely a hostel near you. The international community they attract makes it easy to discover a global array of potential friends.
Without having to venture very far from your home, you will be able to meet people from all over the world who happen to be visiting your town. Offer to be a tour guide in your own city and see where the adventure (and conversation) leads.
2. Weekend getaways with hostellers.
Don’t want to be a tour guide, but would rather immerse yourself in the hostel experience? Try a little weekend getaway to a hostel near you, and take your networking skills up a notch by sharing a dorm room with foreigner travelers.
There is something about shared spaces that immediately helps to forge bonds. The close proximity will encourage you out of your comfort zone and turn you into a social butterfly.
It’s the little things that will spark your attention too – being offered some cherries in the elevator from a South Korean, standing in line for breakfast with an Indian yogi, or talking about sci-fi movies in the lobby with an Argentinian.
Whatever the case, you will surely find yourself expanding your global network if you just put yourself out there and communicate with any and everyone that crosses your path.
3. Join the community events at local hostels.
Every hostel offers unique community events as ways for travelers to meet each other. Stop into your local hostel and see what activities are going on that week.
You may not have time for a weekend getaway or to devote an entire day to showing folks around, but you may have time for a Friday night bar hop or a Wednesday comedy night with travelers in town for the evening.
Join in some of the weekly fun as a way to discover new parts of your city while also meeting cool people from around the world. Make it a regular habit and you’ll meet so many international people, your global network will expand faster than if you were to actually travel.
4. Volunteer at a hostel.
If you are inspired to get a little more hands on, you can turn your passion for meeting new people into a volunteer-based position. This option is multi-beneficial. Not only will you encounter travelers on a regular basis (perhaps you are the local guide for some of the community activities), but you will also be able to add something cool to your resume.
You might have the opportunity for some unique cultural exchanges, developing into planning movie nights, community meals, or even being a city ambassador at the front desk. The opportunity to share your skills, knowledge, and resources will be greatly appreciated by hostellers and could form strong friendships.
Volunteering offers an immediate sense of belonging to the hostel, especially if popping in and joining a group isn’t quite your style. In addition, it allows you to feel responsible for getting to know those staying at the hostel and ensuring they have a good time.
Socializing is the key to adding people with different backgrounds to your circle of friends. By navigating the various opportunities that already exist within your city, you are likely to continue expanding your global network more than if you only socialized in a hostel when in a travel setting. Take advantage of the fact that international travelers are coming to your town.
Relationships are two-sided. It doesn’t matter where you bond with people. Friendships create an open-invitation to visit each other in the future while keeping the conversations going online.
So get out there, visit your local hostels, and see how easy it is to expand your global network.