Making friends and connecting to your new community can be difficult when you are new to a country.  Meeting new people is not always a priority when you are busy with the demands of your day-to-day life but connecting with others or having social support is an important part of life in the United States.  Social support, such as friendship and being active in your community can reduce stress, provide a sense of belonging, and boost happiness. 


It can be helpful to identify places and activities where you can start making connections with others.  For example, meeting people and starting friendships can be easier when you have a shared interest or participate in group activities. Shared interests include hobbies, a faith practice, and having children in the same school. Below are some examples of how to explore opportunities to connect with others in your area: 


Activity and Social Groups 

Do you have any activities you enjoy? For example, sports, knitting, painting, gardening, swimming, reading, or bird watching.  There are many types of social groups based on shared interests and activities.  You can join a local club sports team, a book club, or a knitting circle.   

  • One place to find information on social groups is the internet, try searching your [city or county] + [activity].  For example, “Portland Book Club” 
  • Community Centers, such as Senior Centers or public park buildings, often host social groups, communal meals, or free classes for community members. 
  • Community gardens in your area offer a place to grow food, learn, and connect with other gardeners.   
  • Public libraries offer events, classes, and activities for adults and children, such as story time. Search for local library events or visit a nearby library to ask about upcoming community events. 


Youth Groups and Recreational Activities 

Making new friends is also important for children and youth. Schools offer after-school programs, extra-curricular activities, recreational programs, and summer camps.   


Ethnic Community-Based Organizations 

Ethnic Community-Based Organizations are organizations that serve specific ethnic or cultural groups. You can connect with individuals and families with shared language and culture.  These organizations host events, offer English language training, and have youth services.   

  • To find Ethnic Community-Based Organizations in your area, try the following search terms: [city or county] + [Ethnic Community-Based Organizations] or [community service organization]. For example, “Sacramento Afghan Community Service Organization”. 


Faith-Based Organizations

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based groups can be important places for support and connecting with others.   

  • Try the following search terms: [City or County] + population + type of religious institution (church, mosque, temple, etc.). For example: “King County Ukrainian Churches.” 

Friendships and community connections provide opportunities for mutual support, shared experiences, and connection, all essential to healing and belonging.