Greetings from southeastern Australia!

My sister and I are on the Mornington Peninsula, just a few hours south of Melbourne. We’re staying the night at an alpaca farm before we drive into the city tomorrow.

Before we left for this trip, I had one big question—“How are we going to make friends abroad?”

I was looking forward to striking up conversations with people on the other side of the world, but I didn’t quite know how to start.

If you’ve ever wondered the same, I have some good news! It’s easier than I thought it would be, and I have some advice that we’ve used to meet and befriend people in every city.

Here are five tips for how to make friends abroad—and how your Cochlear™ Baha® Sound Processor can help:

  1. Get off the tour bus

This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning… you can’t meet new people if you’re not spending time in the places where they are!

It’s easy to be lured in by tourist-centered activities that will promise to show you the best parts of the area in a day or less. Those are great if you have very limited time and want to focus on seeing the area. But if you’re looking to meet the locals, you’re not going to find them on a tour bus or a landmark gift shop.

We’ve met many local people by eating at restaurants or cafes that weren’t designed for tourists. When we’re waiting behind someone in line, or sitting next to them at a table, we strike up conversation by asking about their favorite thing on the menu.

  1. Stay with the locals

One of the best ways we’ve found to connect with people on this trip is to stay with locals who have a spare bedroom to host travelers. Through an app, each host and traveler review each other at the end, so you’re able to read comments from tens to hundreds of people who’ve stayed there before you.

Most of the places we’ve stayed have cost around $50-80 a night, which is less than we’d spend on a hotel or an actual bed-and-breakfast. However, the best part is that we’ve gotten to really connect with dozens of locals.

  1. Stay with other travelers

If you’re looking to talk with other travelers, there’s another option: hostels.

Many people have a mental image of hostels as seedy, run-down alleyway establishments. While some probably fit that description, there are plenty of options that are safe, clean, and provide an easy way to meet new people.

My sister and I have started staying in hostels. Our first hostel was in Grampians National Park, and it reminded me of a college dorm. There were four beds to a room, a shared bathroom at the end of the hall, and one community kitchen.

While staying there, we met a Polish traveler who was looking to do the same hikes we were. We invited her to come with us and ended up becoming good friends with her. It was really interesting to learn more about her life in Poland while exploring the Australian outdoors!

  1. Have a Baha Sound Processor? Use your Mini Mic 2+

The Mini Mic 2+ is the perfect accessory for conversations with people from around the world. In a one-on-one conversation, ask the other person to clip it to their shirt, and it will pick up their voice and send it directly to your processor.

The Mini Mic 2+ is also helpful during group conversations. When the device is in a horizontal position, it automatically switches to Table Mic Mode to pick up voices in the surrounding area.

Plus, with 11 hours of talk time on a single battery charge, it will help you stay on top of every conversation.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

If you set out with the intentional goal of making “X” number of friends on your trip, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Instead, focus on building connections and having conversations with people as the opportunity presents itself. The key here is quality, not quantity.

If you do end up making a friend, ask them to connect on social media. It’s an easy way to stay in touch with them, even when you part ways to continue on your respective adventures.

Before you know it, you’ll have made friends with a network of people from around the world!

I’m off to go feed some alpacas now. Check back next week to read about how the Find My Baha feature helped me when I misplaced my processor!

Skylar Mason
As a journalism student, Baha recipient, and Anders Tjellström Scholarship winner, Skylar is excited to join the team at Cochlear as an intern to tell the stories of other CI and Baha recipients! She attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.