4 Ways to make friends in a new city

By Aneesh Chatterjee

Posted on October 11, 2021

Living in a new place is overwhelming for many. A different culture, unknown social norms, and drastic lifestyle changes can be difficult to process for newcomers. However, it’s nothing to be afraid of. Reaching out to people around you is one of the best ways to get to know your new surroundings. Here are some ways you can make friends and build connections in your new world.

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is a big part of work and life in Canada. Canadians learn about the importance of volunteering from a young age.There are always opportunities to contribute to your community in different ways. You can volunteer at food banks, animal shelters, museums, community centres and more. Donate your time and spend it with people, and you’ll be able to make new friends among your fellow volunteers. This is a great way to meet people who have similar interests, since you’re all volunteering for the same programs.


Go Overseas, a website that lists jobs, volunteer opportunities, and programs abroad, offers an extensive list of programs.

For more reasons to volunteer in Canada, check out The Newcomer’s article on the benefits of volunteer work.

2. Take a class

Even if you don’t want to be a full-time student, small classes are perfect places to meet new people. Find a hobby or craft you like, or perhaps a professional skill you want to work on for your résumé, and see if there are classes you can take. You’ll encounter people who have the same passions as you, and that’s always a great way to start conversations.


These classes can be anything from learning Excel and Powerpoint, going to driving school, or taking a woodworking class. Look for what you find interesting and see what classes are available in your city. Here are some examples of interesting classes you can take in Toronto.

3. Go on hiking tours

If you’re up for it, organized hiking trips with small groups are a great way to meet new people. Apart from exploring beautiful natural features in some of Canada’s many gorgeous hiking spots, the small group is perfect for starting conversations while you walk. These tours are structured and well-planned. You’re driven to the location by bus, and the trip usually takes up a full day. Great Canadian Trails is a great website to scope out the many places you can go to book these trips.

4. Reach out at work

This might seem obvious, but it’s not always considered: Get to know your coworkers! Simple regular interactions at work are a great way to build the basis of new friendships. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with each other, if you’re both interested, don’t be afraid to reach out and invite your coworkers to activities outside the workplace. As pandemic restrictions ease, small gatherings at restaurants, catching a movie together, or going to a music event are great icebreakers for colleagues.
work friends

5. Join community activism

If there is a cause you care about, you may find local activist groups to participate in. While this is similar to volunteering, it does let you meet people who care about bringing social change. These topics can be strong bases to form new relationships with like-minded individuals.
Amnesty International hosts activist groups all across Canada, and you’re likely to find a group in your region with whom you can get involved.

In the end, reaching out and talking to people is the best way to make a connection. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and be honest, and the right people will find you.

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