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Making friends in a small town

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I've just moved to Zwickau in Sachsen, from a city of around 20 million. German friends whom i told I was moving to Zwickau only laughed at me and said, 'Are you sure you want to do that?'

 

Well, so far, it seems fine enough. My apartment is well built, hot water in the kitchen and washing machine, good quality food, fresh air, and on and on. My new job here is also great. Very relaxed and independent.

 

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but the problem that seems to be looming over me is inability to find good, quality people to hang out with. I'm a very friendly person, who could strike up a conversation with anyone, and I love talking to and meeting new people. I hung out with my colleagues a little, and had a nice time, but in their late 20's, they still don't have much to talk about other than TV and cars. I'm used to being in new places (having moved country to country or city to city alone quite a bit). When I first flew in to Berlin a month ago, I set right off doing what I usually do, which is looking for fun things to do, or just walking around until I see something interesting. My third day in Berlin I met a few interesting people and we had a great time hanging out here and there those couple weeks, and we plan to meet again should I be in Berlin. (3 hours is seeming farther and farther away...)

 

When I arrived in Zwickau, I was shocked to see just how tiny this place really is. I walked up and down each street in Zentrum in an afternoon, saw nothing but parents, students and babies, and by sundown, the streets were totally deserted and everything was closed. The edges of town are full of abandoned buildings or old ladies hobbling around GDR era apartment buildings. I decided the weekend might be more promising, so I looked up a couple nightspots to go to (there are only two it turns out) and that weekend, they both just happened to be closed. A taxi driver told me, 'Yes, nothing ever happens within 20 kilometers of here on a Friday night.'

 

So, are there other things that can be done in Germany to meet new people?

 

All I want is a buddy to have a beer with once in a while!

 

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Zwickau has a university, so you'll have to discover where the students hang around. You are on your 20s too (students in Germany are not much younger than that), and if you are the girl on the picture, then you won't have any problem meeting new people.

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Well, Zwickau isn't really known to be a place where lots of things are happening. As you are in your 20s you may try to get involved with the student life of the local university's students, who may offer the best chance of meeting some interesting people: http://www.studiere-in-zwickau.de/index.php?L=1#section-4

(mts beat me to the answer)

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You could enrol in a course at your local Volkshochschule. A quick look at the website of the one in Zwickau shows that it even has horse-riding!

If you have or ever had a favourite sport or hobby, you could join a "Verein", which can be a good way to get to know people in Germany.

Otherwise, you'll just have to invest in a Bahnkarte. Dresden also isn't far away :-)

HTH

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Zwickau a small town? I think it's all a matter of perspective. I mean, the place I live in doesn't even have a bar to hang out in anymore; they tore it down 3 months ago. Neither does it have a doctor...

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... the place I live in doesn't even have a bar to hang out in anymore; they tore it down 3 months ago. Neither does it have a doctor...

 

It had plenty of both the last time I set foot in it. Hamburg I mean. (Ref. your Profile location.)

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VHS is a good option. You get to learn German and meet people from different cultures. Chemnitz is not too far. Many people go for fun to bigger cities and use the laid back towns for residing - when they have this option.

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Zwickau.. population 92,000. Blimey. I used to think that Llandudno, the largest town we went to as children, had a population of 40,000.. but I found out this year that it was only 20,000. And that's a large town where I come from

 

What I have found useful is a routine. If people always see you in the same place at the same time, eventually, they will talk to you. I used to go ice-skating on Thursdays - and eventually I found one friend there whom I'd meet every week for a drink and other people would come up and chat and we'd have a coffee together.

 

I have met people in libraries in Germany and in Spain. Just by turning up there regularly - eventually, you'll find a way to get into conversation.

 

I go out with a walking group and we often 'einkehren' (stop somewhere for a drink) at the end. I could, if I wanted to, cultivate a friendship or two, there.

 

Anyway.. the main thing is.. regular activities that interest you and eventually your face will be familiar enough for people to want to talk to.

 

And the tips about meeting students as mentioned above are also good.

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I hung out with my colleagues a little, and had a nice time, but in their late 20's, they still don't have much to talk about other than TV and cars.

 

I don't think talking exclusively about cars and tv is symptomatic of being in one's late 20s. Maybe your colleagues are just boring. Besides, in 1 year you will be 26 and technically can be categorized as late 20s.

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So, are there other things that can be done in Germany to meet new people?

 

Do you speak German?

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The issue is not so much the size of the town, but the very low proportion of people similar to the OP. Which is not surprising since such people tend to head to more cosmopolitan cities like Berlin.

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Zwickau is not the most cosmopolitan place on earth... This can be common in the East. You can try the local Vereins, the university or the VHS. However don't expect miracles. and it is best if you speak german.

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Zwickau.. population 92,000. Blimey. I used to think that Llandudno, the largest town we went to as children, had a population of 40,000.. but I found out this year that it was only 20,000. And that's a large town where I come from

Yes, but when 80% of the population are over 60, then socializing is limited.

 

You will need to speak German in that particular area, even most of the students will have pretty limited english.

 

Around Zwickau there is also not much to talk about. Chemnitz is also pretty dead, your best bets are Dresden or Leipzig. My experience is that people tend not to move a lot into this area, so it is great if you have an established group of friends or are with someone who has, however, as a new person it can be a little lonely. It is certainly not at all like Berlin, which is probably the only city in Germany like that as the population is so transient and metropolitan.

 

Most young people are moving out of these areas to places like Berlin. Those that study here, usually come from the area and those that move in, probably came originally from the area. There are tonnes of super people here, but getting through that initial barrier of meeting people can take a while. Most people tend to already be settled in their groups since childhood!

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"Yes, but when 80% of the population are over 60, then socializing is limited."

 

Close to Llandudno, there is Colwyn Bay. The coast between the two towns has been referred to as Costa Geriatica since I was a girl. There are an awful lot of old people's homes there, and most of the people I went to school with no longer live there any more.

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That is a problem with a lot of Wales, my parents/grandparents live in/came from the Valleys and there it is not much better :)

 

Beautiful coast up around there though (to the West) not Liverpool way.

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Well, Zwickau isn't really known to be a place where lots of things are happening. As you are in your 20s you may try to get involved with the student life of the local university's students, who may offer the best chance of meeting some interesting people: http://www.studiere-in-zwickau.de/index.php?L=1#section-4(mts beat me to the answer)

 

Great link! I don't know how I missed this. I've been passing this campus every day on my way to work and I thought 'Hochschule' was a high-school! I will definitely look in to it.

 

 

Zwickau a small town? I think it's all a matter of perspective. I mean, the place I live in doesn't even have a bar to hang out in anymore; they tore it down 3 months ago. Neither does it have a doctor...

 

Perspective indeed! I've arrived in this teeny tiny town, from Beijing, a city of about 20,000,000!

 

 

Do you speak German?

 

Never learned any, and never thought I'd end up in Germany, but I'm studying like crazy!! Will definitely look into that school here...

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I am in a similar position to you, in a small town. Your best bet is to befriend a few people in restaurants and find out from there whats on in the area (or ask your collegues). Restaurant owners and waiters etc can be quite friendly especially once they know your local and/or on your own. Quite often parties etc are put on but aren't advertised because it's just a local thing (like in a social club). Websites are useless! Also we found that often (over summer or for easter fires etc) local villages or clubs will put on parties at the nearest grillplatz with a DJ and bars etc. Once you have a friend to spit taxi fares with they are a good bet. Sometimes you will see posters dotted about for those, but word of mouth is usually how we hear about them. They are quite frequent in these parts (Lower Saxony) but I don't know if it's the same elsewhere.

Or put a plea on here for people, you never know!

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It had plenty of both the last time I set foot in it. Hamburg I mean. (Ref. your Profile location.)

 

As you might have guessed, AB, the place I actually live in these days isn't Hamburg; it's not too far away from it, but way too far to walk to the pub. And so small that it isn't in any lists :)

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I've been passing this campus every day on my way to work and I thought 'Hochschule' was a high-school! I will definitely look in to it.

...

Never learned [German], and never thought I'd end up in Germany, but I'm studying like crazy!! Will definitely look into that school here...

 

That's funny, lambaa. But use it as a lesson - whenever you see a word you don't know yet, look it up in the dictionary. If it's a noun, learn the article as well. And then try to use it in conversation. Be careful - combination words may not mean the same as their separate parts. And cognates can be really tricky. My ex- embarrassed everyone when he said to a group, "American bread is bad because it's full of preservatives." Meaningful in English, but horrifyingly funny in Germany, where preservative can mean condom.

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