moved to Valencia in January 2018. I was alone and only knew a few people from my previous visits. That’s always better than zero, but I still felt very lonely at times. Yes, moving to a new country is great, but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Leaving friends and family behind is not exactly a super fun thing to do. But now, four years later, I can say that I’ve made some really great friends here.
Of course, everyone is different so you might need some time - depending on what kind of person you are and what kind of people you meet, but it’s worth it. Don’t worry about language barriers, there are people from all over the world - you just have to know where to find them. Fortunately, we’re here to help you out. There’s a reason why we call ourselves: Friends of Valencia, you know ;-)
Facebook groups with English-speaking members
I honestly don’t know what I would do without Facebook. I know, it’s not that popular anymore, but it’s one of the best social media platforms you can use if you’re looking for new friends.
I’ve met a lot of people - including May - through Facebook groups. There are plenty of groups that focus on making new connections and exchanging helpful information. I’ll share a couple with you down below, everyone in these groups speaks English.
- Expats in Valencia: with over 17.000 members this is the biggest expat Facebook group of Valencia and it continues to grow. This group has been my savior ever since I moved here. You can ask anything you want. Fun fact: I met May through this group, I was looking for a roommate and someone tagged her in my post - that’s where our womance started.
I’ve met great people, expanded my network, gotten some really helpful tips and I basically started my teaching career by spamming this group. That’s not allowed anymore, though. I guess I was right on time, lucky me.
- Girls in Valencia ES: this group is exclusively for women. There’s always someone who’s just looking for some company, a fun activity, or a chat with a glass of wine. You’re also allowed to ask for advice and information on anything you want. There’s a designated post for those looking for a flat or roommate. It’s a very supportive community and I’ve met some great women through this group.
- Expat Family in Valencia: this group is specifically for families. You can share anything you want.
- Bumps and babies: this is a group exclusively for moms or moms-to-be.
You can only join if you’re friends with a member. Once you’re friends, that person can add you. I have a big network of young families and I know a lot of moms who are in this group, so if you’d like to join, just send us a message and I’ll ask around.
They regularly organize meet-ups and playdates. You can ask for advice and information related to family life, birth, and becoming a mom. I’ve heard that it’s a great, supportive group.
If you’ve joined one of the Facebook groups, you’ll soon bump into posts about intercambios de idiomas, which is Spanish for: language exchanges. Usually, the languages that are spoken are English and Spanish.
You know what they say about alcohol and languages, right? Well, these events usually take place in a pub, bonus! I know my Spanish is fantastic after a few glasses of wine. But, all jokes aside, one thing you should be a little careful with is the word intercambio. If you suggest doing an intercambio with a random stranger, you’d have to take your clothes off…if you know what I mean ;-)
Totally fine if that’s what you want, but I suppose that’s not the goal, so make sure you say: intercambio de idiomas.
This is a great way to make new connections and learn the language at the same time. So efficient!
Are you looking for people with shared interests? Then Meetup is your new friend. This platform brings people together through online and in-person events.
You can join local groups and events, but you can also create them yourself. It’s really easy, just sign up and find more information on their website.
Did you know that Bumble isn’t just a dating app? It has a BFF feature too. Just create an account, choose your preferences, write a fun bio and start swiping!
Join classes and workshops
Whether you’re a gym fanatic or a ceramics lover, one of the best ways to meet new people is by joining classes and workshops. You can bond over shared interests while working on a common goal. So, what are you waiting for? Go plan some fun activities!
Friends of Valencia community
You probably already know this, but we’ve created our own Friends of Valencia community too. You can connect with other fellow Valencia enthusiasts through our Telegram group and create your own events here. Feel free to ask us all your burning questions, that’s what we’re here for :-)
People come and go
If you have expat friends, you know they’ll leave at some point. And of course, life is unpredictable and you never know who hops on or off your train, but it can be hard sometimes. Saying goodbye is never fun, but it’s a huge part of living abroad. Don’t let this stop you from making friends though, enjoy the moments you have together.
I’m still in touch with friends who left the city a while ago because the friendship we have is still there - even though we don’t speak very much. They’re in my heart and I’m sure I’ll visit them again one day.
All in the same boat
Of course it’s fun to make Spanish friends as well, I love Spanish people, it’s just a little harder because they already have their lives here. If you’re new to the area, meeting people from other countries can make you feel more connected, as you’re all in the same boat. No one wants to be completely alone, so everyone is open to meeting new people.
Always remember - a simple “How you doin” can go a long way.