This evening I got together with three other teachers who will be travelling to Korea with the same program as me. My trip with SMOE is being organized through the school board I was subbing with this year. I've gone to several meetings prior to this get together, but didn't really know anyone. When you're about to embark on a year adventure overseas, I reckon it's a good idea to know at least a few faces before I depart. The hardest part was remembering people's faces. It can be quite awkward to walk up to random tables to see if you recognize anyone. Thankfully, I eventually found the group, and we had a delicious dinner together.
I realize a meetup like this isn't a possibility for everybody; however, with the internet, you can arrange some meetups in Korea before leaving your current location. For instance, I've heard meetup.com is a great site to find clubs and activities to help you meet new people-- including locals, expats, and some tourists. The service is free to use for most clubs, but there is a small startup fee if you want to start a group/club of your own. I've seen marathon clubs, art clubs, language clubs, and more. So, no more excuses not to keep up with another language you've been "trying" to learn. Practicing with expats from different countries could be just the thing to get you back on track. Best thing: many cities around the world are listed on this site. Which means... year abroad or just a short visit across the pond or to the country next door could mean really getting to know local cultures and customs. I'll let you guys know how this site works for me when I get a chance to try it out. I'm quite excited to test it out!