Making friends in a new place
One of the most important elements for a successful international posting is building a new social network. Especially if one of the partners is not working, it is crucial to create a support network. In Cairo, your first contacts will most likely be in the expatriate community. Usually this group is open to welcome newcomers, and they are willing to help you settle in.
CSA is a great place to meet them, but also school coffee mornings, church, the gym and other groups (check OASIS for a list of groups). Even if you are usually not a person for ‘groups’, try to join at least a number of classes. One of my best friends in our last posting was a classmate on my language course.
The feeling of a loss in identity is common in expat partners. Often they have given up work, friendships, and other things that were important for who they are. Building meaningful relationships helps them to regain confidence. Through these friendships you can show your talents, people will see your sense of humor or your cooking skills. This will bring a sense of purpose to your life, and fun!
Networking skills are important to make new friends, as well as your own initiative. Don’t be shy about introducing yourself and asking for help. If you meet someone, try to exchange contact information or arrange a follow up meeting. From my own experience I know that these meeting are not so easy. Cairo is our fourth posting, and I had to really motivate myself to introduce myself again to so many new people. But I also know it is worth it, I need to have a life for myself. Where people know and like me for who I am, not because of what my husband does or because I happen to be the mother of one of their children’s friends. So find your courage and come to CSA to meet new friends!
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