How to Foster a Sense of Community as an Expat Mom


The allure of expat life can sometimes be just that: a feeling that life abroad is exponentially better than what your day-to-day is currently like in your home country, city, or small town. This can be true to a certain extent, but we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about life’s challenges abroad, too, especially for mothers.

Sometimes, it is hard to integrate into the fabric of a place and its culture when you still have the same responsibilities (if not more) you did when you lived a ‘regular’ life at home. Having responsibilities is not a negative thing; it just means you are not only trying to figure out how to navigate a new place, build routines, run a household, and figure out work, but you also have to assist in the adjustment for your whole family. So, how do you manage it, and what are some strategies to help you acclimate to your new home abroad through community? Well, let’s talk more about the how and the why.

Join Local Groups and Organizations:

There are many benefits to joining local and online groups and organizations. Those specifically catering to motherhood are great, especially if you are in the trenches and need to talk to other women about your current experiences. If you can find groups and organizations that support hobbies you are interested in or skills you are looking to foster, that is great, too! Being around people who share your passions is a beautiful way to build community.

Facebook groups are always a wonderful place to look for communities and meet new friends. Search for the place you will move to on Facebook and then add a keyword to find groups that will interest you. For example, ‘Quito Foodies’ or ‘Moms Love Travel.’ Doing this will be a great way to get you where you want to be!

Engage in Local Culture:

Learning the local language in your host country will be very important in your integration process. It will allow you to communicate with locals, navigate your surroundings, and feel more confident, which is important when meeting new people and joining groups.

Don’t shy away from attending local festivals and events. Put your best foot forward and meet new people while out and about. A classic way to meet other mom friends is to introduce yourself and your little ones to other mothers and their children while enjoying a local event or class.

Create and Host Events:

A great way to build a support network is to take the initiative and host events. Setting up playdates for children in your area is always a fun way to hang out with other mothers. You can even theme the meetings as ‘coffee mornings’ or ‘cultural exchange’ events if you mix cultures and languages, which is always more fun for you and your kiddos.

Low-key gatherings that don’t pressure you to plan are always surefire ways to make connections and potentially make new friends.

So, go into your living abroad experience with fresh eyes and an open heart. Be patient but persistent in your quest to build a sense of community. And good luck!

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