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How many international friends do you have?

(62 Posts)
Betsyisamum Mon 10-Feb-20 13:15:01

It’s just occurred to me my friendship circle is really limited to mostly people that are white British and live quite close to me. I live in a rural North west location with no other nationalities and my kids go to a predominantly white British private school with only a handful of ethnic minorities.

How many people do you know that are first generation internationals.

I basically know a married Hindu couple and their kids - due to the school. That’s it shock

My friend lives in Portugal and socialises with a mix from Russian, German and French

My dd lives in the Middle East and knows/works with people from literally every corner of the world however only socialises with British people.

Both say there can be cultural differences in building friendships - such as humour, tone of voice, shared experiences etc..

So how many international people do you know who you are friends with and are cultural differences an issue?

It’s made me feel really segregated blush

ThePolishWombat Mon 10-Feb-20 13:22:16

I’m the child of Polish immigrants, I was born in the U.K. but we lived in a very Polish household if that makes sense? We didn’t speak English at home.
The place where I grew up had a huge European community - other Polish families, Lithuanians, Portuguese, Latvian, Estonian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian a few Russians, so I grew up with friends from all over the place!!
Then while I was in the army I had friends and colleagues from around the commonwealth, but mainly white South Africans and Fijians, with the odd Australian and Kiwi knocking about.
I now live in an area with quite a diverse community! I have a friend who’s from Columbia, one from Somalia, a few Americans (USAF base close by), one Irish, one from Hong Kong - we are a right mixed up bunch of accents when we get together grin

spiderlight Mon 10-Feb-20 13:22:55

Quite a few, thinking about it. My best friend from school, with whom I'm still really close, is Chinese, and I have a very close friend from my Uni days who's Danish and another couple who are German. Also got a Danish mum friend through DS's sport. Never really had any cultural issues with any of them, apart from a few moments of linguistic confusion - I first became friends with my oldest Danish friend as a result of a hilarious cross-purpose conversation when it emerged that the Danish words for 'polystyrene' and 'flamingo' are the same and that our mutual friend was not, in fact, going to the lab to collect some dry ice in a flamingo grin

okiedokieme Mon 10-Feb-20 13:24:25

Loads but I've lived overseas, exh is in a occupation with 1/3 or so staff born overseas, also live in multi cultural city

ThePolishWombat Mon 10-Feb-20 13:26:14

And no cultural differences have caused issues.
There could very easily be a religious clash if we allowed it to happen, but how often to a group of women chat about religion over coffee?! I’m an ex-catholic, my Irish and Colombian friends are practicing catholic, my Somali friend is Muslim, one of the Americans is Jewish and the other 2 are another “brand” of Christian but I’m not entirely sure which denomination!

Betsyisamum Mon 10-Feb-20 13:27:51

Thepolishwombat that sounds mental! Jesus Christ where have I been living?!

Spider I never went to uni so missed out on experiencing that. My husbands grandparents are Dutch and in fact I’ve met his nana so that one more to add and I’m going to raise the flamingo and polystyrene if I see her again grin

NameChange84 Mon 10-Feb-20 13:29:48

Oh God, loads and I live in the North too. To be honest I don’t tend to notice Nationality or race (I’m mixed race anyway) and there have been no cultural problems at all. Any cultural problems I’ve experienced have been by white British or American people making pretty weird assumptions or having little prejudices they don’t quite realise are there until they voice them, in all honesty. Two of my closest friends are Polish, another is Spanish, another French and I’ve an equal number of Asian, Black, White and Filipino friends in my circle. Lots of different religions. I know you didn’t ask this but different sexualities too. I’ve just always been very open to friendships and the rest, culture, race etc is never an issue to me. I have definitely had a richer life through it too.

Bakedpotatoandgin Mon 10-Feb-20 13:31:09

I have friends from the UK, Italy, Poland, Romania, and France. I haven't found any cultural clashes yet, apart from different opinions on food

SisterAgatha Mon 10-Feb-20 13:31:30

Husband Turkish
Best friend Mauritian
Another close friend Maltese
Cousins Guyanan
Had a few polish and Russian friends when I was working but don’t see them now.
Lots of Bengali friends from school
Dated a Dominican and a Greek

mackerella Mon 10-Feb-20 13:31:38

Loads (in fact, my dad is a first-generation immigrant wink) - but I work in a university, where maybe 40% of the research and academic staff are from overseas. I also spent a long time working in museums, which often attract people from other countries (at least, in the type of technical position that I did). On the other hand, the town I live in is not particularly big (about 18,000 people), but around half of the children in DS's class have one or more foreign-born parents - from Portugal, Germany, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, India, Egypt... (and that's just off the top of my head). So maybe it's more about geographical location than about being in a big city?

vampirethriller Mon 10-Feb-20 13:35:53

Mother Nigerian/welsh
Daughter's father is from Ghana
Friends a mixture of English, Polish, Jamaican and Romanian

EBearhug Mon 10-Feb-20 13:36:22

Loads. I work in a very international workplace, as have been most other places I have worked, because I choose organisations like that. Also have various friends and family round the world. Life is much richer with a mix of different languages, religions and cultural upbringing in it.

waterlego Mon 10-Feb-20 13:37:41

I don’t have very many friends really, but I have acquaintances from the US, Denmark, Poland, France, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia. My son also has several friends whose parents are first-generation immigrants from the Far East (Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam). We live in a large town in the South East.

KnitFastDieWarm Mon 10-Feb-20 13:39:54

Off the top of my head, my friends and extended family are from English, Scottish, Irish, french, Italian, South African, Moroccan, Ghanaian, Indian, Chinese, Swedish, Japanese, Canadian and American backgrounds.
I live in a large city, that’s probably helpful!

InOtterNews Mon 10-Feb-20 13:47:07

Probably quite a lot - most of my immediate family is from another country (Polish, Portuguese, Czech etc). I was born in the Netherlands, now live in UK. Living in London means I have friends from all over. Plus I work internationally so travel quite a lot - so I have friends all over (Kenya, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Colombia too name a few)

mamasholiday Mon 10-Feb-20 13:50:27

This is why I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready to leave London. Even though there are bigger houses further out, I want my DC to attend multicultural schools and be surrounded by diversity. I don't mean it in a rude way towards the OP but I would feel something was wrong if my life looked like that- as in I'd feel that my children are missing out and both they and I are being slightly limited by living in a homogenous area. I'm sure there are other benefits to that community and I'm sure it's a lovely place to live, but for me being part of a diverse community and therefore social group is essential and valued as an absolute priority.

YeahLikeNoThough Mon 10-Feb-20 13:51:13

I grew up in an expat household, studied and have now worked abroad for the last almost 20 years myself and my exH wasn't native British either, so: most of them at this point!

I do, however, seem to have a truly embarrassing lack of friends who are not upper MC professionals. Well, I know two or three very upper crust types, too, but they're the "impoverished and actually having to work for a living - albeit in very cushy jobs" sort. One work friend comes from a refugee background - but, again, their entire family is very academic and bith parents were professors in their country of origin.

It's quite sad, actually, and I do feel a tad guilty over it.

exexpat Mon 10-Feb-20 13:55:19

Loads. I grew up going to a school which also had boarders, so still have international friends from childhood, and more from university. I have also spent a large chunk of my life abroad (as you can probably guess from my username), and now live in a big city, near the university, so my DCs' classes at school also had lots of children with an international background or heritage.

Thinking about it, there are very few of my closer friends who are not in some way international (not born in UK, one or more non-British parents, non-British spouse, spent time living abroad themselves or whatever). I suspect I find (at an unconscious level) that I have more in common with or just somehow 'click' better with people who have that international outlook than people who have spent their lives living in the same country/city/town. I guess that involves cultural differences, but in my case I share more cultural traits with internationally-minded people than with typically British people?

jjjnnnnnrrssss Mon 10-Feb-20 13:56:06

I'm an immigrant myself, although white British ancestry. But immigrants tend to attract other immigrants often. Also, I've found it depends on where I'm working. Small company? Mostly white British. Large multinational? More diversity.

Betsyisamum Mon 10-Feb-20 13:56:19

Wow my world is really small! blush

I think working internationally, going to uni AND living in a city is key here!

goingonabarhunt Mon 10-Feb-20 13:59:46

I am white British, the only white people I know are my father and a couple of colleagues at work. I’m not sure why... I haven’t gone out of my way to only have friendships and relationships with people of other races to my own. No cultural/religious differences that have caused any issues, all respectful - we do take the piss out of each other if we deem something seriously weird though grin

flooooomp Mon 10-Feb-20 14:00:19

Similar to YeahLikeNoThough - a number of nationalities, but not a very diverse group when it comes to class or professional status!

We live in London.

iklboo Mon 10-Feb-20 14:01:30

I have friends from:

New Zealand
South Africa


Yorkshire (I'm a Lancs lass so over the Pennines is Forrin Parts 😄

Betsyisamum Mon 10-Feb-20 14:01:37

expat I wonder if you’ve always had an ‘outwards looking personality’ and sought more...

Where as I’ve always been happy to exist in my little world (I think) .... maybe I need to face outwards a bit more grin

Imaleh Mon 10-Feb-20 14:02:32

You realise Dutch and Danish are completely different languages?

Just because they're all tall, blonde people who cycle around and then go home to talk about their respective queens while eating lots of potato based dishes doesn't mean they speak the same language smile

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