When you first move to a new city or town, you are consumed with the necessary tasks of creating a new life: hooking up the utilities, unpacking and finding new places to put all of your things, starting a new job, and so on. Once you are settled in, the less defined business of settling into your new locale presents itself. How do you become connected with your new community? How do you meet people with similar interests?
Here are five tips to help make a strange new place into a home:
Tap into your interests, hobbies and sports Whether it’s a sport, a hobby or a special interest, chances are that there is a group or groups that are formed around it. So, if you cross-stitch, scrapbook or quilt, check in at the specialty craft stores in your new town. They probably have groups that meet up or can tell you about them. This is true of many crafts as well as specialty collecting such as stamps, coins, memorabilia, comic books or sports cards. Along the same lines, if your love is sports or dancing, joining up at a gym or dance hall can allow you to meet others who share your passion. Finally, if you are a pet lover, local pet stores and humane societies can connect you with dog walking groups, charities and events.
Investigate civic organizations and special interest groups Most people enroll their kids in a new school system and join a new church soon after they move to a new town. But what if you don’t have school age children or what if you don’t belong to or can’t find a church? There are many community and social organizations that may appeal to you and provide a great way to meet other people who share your interests and worldview. Examples of civic organizations include the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, YWCA, YMCA, Toastmasters, Neighborhood Watch and United Way. Special interest groups include the Sierra Club, the Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity.
Volunteer your time In addition to volunteering with a not-for-profit organization, there are an abundance of volunteer opportunities with a variety of groups in your community. Among the choices are hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, libraries, museums, local attractions, police stations, firehouses, schools, and colleges.
Locate a Newcomer’s Group Many cities offer a Newcomer’s Group to welcome recent additions to their new home. Check out the meetings and events calendar in your newspaper or ask at the local library to find out when they meet. It’s a great way to meet people who may know a lot about the city, who can perhaps point you towards other resources and groups and who want to welcome strangers.
Take a class Enrolling yourself in a local community college to brush up on skills or take on a new interest is a great way to meet people. If the classroom environment isn’t a match for you, try signing up for a class at a hobby store or home improvement center where the instruction is more hands-on. You can also tackle personal development or a new activity or sport at a sports club or wellness center. And, in the process, meet others of like mind.
Copyright 2005 Vivian Banta