I read every local magazine, newspaper, flyer in the town..almost all were free and in the tourist office, real estate or rental offices, newspaper stands, etc. I checked out any group or club for common interest. Luckily a branch of the American Club is located in many areas...or International Club or cultural and hobby groups. I found ex-pats from so many countries in each and every group. Attend a meeting..might be in a cafe...automatically, one has found a common denominator. I have found that ex-pats are the friendliest people. Many have lived in the area for quite some time..they are a wealth of info and oft-needed advice. Besides immediate acquaintances, the foundation of good friendships can begin.and through them one begins to meet even more people. I think the most important thing one gains though is a feeling of confidence..one actually KNOWS SOMEBODY to have a coffee or drink..even just to say hello to walking along a street..It's a great feeling and helps ease your sense of aloneness. I also heartily recommend a stint at a language school.
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It's more important what differences are in the townspeople's lives and take the time to explore what they enjoy..after all, you're the stranger in their town. They extend themselves when you enter their
'world' so accepting them..meeting them on their own ground..is more apt to open the doors of friendship
SINCE I'm retired, work places wouldn't be relevent for me. But all of the above have their position of importance.
Know that everything will be different from all you have ever known..see it as a new world to explore..not what you will be deprived of. Allow for periods of frustration and loneliness..after all, you're experiencing 'culture shock'.