On the list of things that make a happy life, friends rank pretty high. When living in a foreign country, friends are even more important. They become your family, your partners in crime and your excuse to not go on that date with that guy you accidentally gave your number to.
Now, there are two kinds of friends that you’ll find no matter where you are: acquaintances and true friends. Acquaintances are easy to make. They might not blow your mind with ideas on life, but they’ll party, share dinners and can be the connection to finding true friends.
True friends are the ones you meet, immediately connect with and feel like you’ve known forever. Finding a true friend is like finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. It happens when you least expect it.
Much like at university, acquaintances are made in a snap in social situations or by chance that you two are alone in the same space. When you first arrive in a foreign country, these are the kind of connections you’ll make at first to get the ball rolling. Here are some ideas on how to find fast friends in Buenos Aires:
Before you leave your home country, cover the basics
1. Tell everyone you know that you are going to Buenos Aires. They might have a friend or family member to put you in touch with. These connections are great because you aren’t complete strangers, and this person will have solid recommendations for what you seek. If you’re lucky, they’ll take you under their wing.
2. If you’re a study abroad student, ask the study abroad office of your university if any alumni are living in Buenos Aires, if they are aware of any social groups or organizations you should be contacting there, etc. These alumni and organizations are a great resource for friends, jobs and accommodations.
Once you arrive:
1. Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet random people and explore city nightlife. Avoid boutique hotels unless they have a reputation for taking their guests out or have long-term guests. Check out these fun Hostels that have tons of common areas to hang out, daily activities and nightly events that are sure to be memorable.
2. Go out! If you are into sports, the Alamo in Recoleta is your spot. The Alamo is the closest you’ll get to an American sports bar here in Buenos Aires, and nothing unites strangers like screaming at Michael Vick. Sugar Bar in Palermo also shows a lot of games and is a great place to meet fellow ex-pats and internationals. Plus they host a Tuesday night Beerlingual bilingual pub quiz; a great way to meet new people, practice Spanish and have some drinks!
Want to dance without getting hit on every 5 seconds? Azucar, the salsa club in Belgrano is a great place to go and meet new friends.
If you are a hippie or a live-music addict, go to La Bomba de Tiempo. This is a cheap weekly drumming show that attracts huge crowds and leads to loco after parties where you can mingle with like-minded people.
3. Use Facebook and Twitter to find out about open events. We have a full event calendar and post weekly articles with Things to Do. Buenos Aires is full of people trying to hang out and they are posting on both of these sites. From writing groups and expat bars to futbol tournaments and shows, open invitations are legit and should be taken advantage of.
Spanglish Exchange is open every night of the week and is a mix between speed-dating and Spanish class. At $30 pesos a person, this is one of BA’s best friend-finder solutions. Check their home page to stay up to speed on where the nightly event is being held.
4. Sweat and Socialize
Getting involved in sports is not only good for your mind and body but also a great way to meet new people.
Biking Buenos Aires offers new ways to see the city and get exercise!
Bueno Aires Futbol Amigos is an international bunch that meets for weekly games.
Discosur plays Ultimate Frisbee every week with a great mix of locals and foreigners.
Buena Onda Yoga and FluidMovement are two excellent Yoga studios with locations all over Buenos Aires where locals and foreigners come together to get it ommmm.
5. You mean…work….for free?
Yes, volunteering is a great way to meet people. Contact organizations like Centro Conviven or Voluntarios Sin Fronteras to volunteer and meet other young people who have similar interests in a more in depth experience in Buenos Aires.