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Over a month in Australia and I still feel like I don’t know that many people here. To fix the issue I decided to challenge myself. For the duration of seven days I had to talk to a new person every day. No matter where or when as long as the person was a stranger and the conversation was more than an exchange of greetings.

After the first rush of everything new and exciting that the move to a new country brings along we tend to fall into routines very quickly. Talking to strangers without any particular reason can feel a bit uncomfortable if you are shy like me, but it is such a good way to meet all sorts of interesting people.

My challenge ran from Saturday to Friday. The weekend was easy as I went to an overnight trip to the Blue Mountains with the Climbing Club. There is no way you can climb all day without talking to people and since I didn’t know most of the club members, I got to tick the “challenge completed” box several times. I was still able to find new faces on Sunday morning to have a chat with over the breakfast.

I do not usually socialise during the lectures or seminars. I go there on time and leave as soon as it is over. All these people in the same room and I talk to none of them! To fix that, I made an effort to have a conversation with a girl in my seminar group on Monday. We are supposed to do a presentation together later this semester so a question related to it was an easy way to start.

On Tuesday I was helping at the Sydney Abroad Fair where students came to learn about the university's exchange options. No need to say that I met a bunch of students with whom I talked a minute or two. However, there was also time to have more in-depth conversations with some of the volunteers. As a result, I ended up joining a new society: the Sydney University Global Exchange Society (SUGEX). The next day, SUGEX had a meeting where I encountered more new faces.

Sharing the pain and sweat is a pretty good way to connect with people. So I took part in a strength exercise class that Nike Training Club runs on campus on Thursdays. The group varies a little every week and this time my partner was a total stranger to me. A friendly chat among the exercises was motivating and made the training less serious. Finally, I completed the challenge in an elevator on Friday morning with my neighbour. 15 floors down is long enough to have a little morning chat.

It really is not hard to meet new people in Sydney. University clubs and societies are the easiest way to make new friends but you might find nice people from your neighbourhood just as well. I might not have made friends with all the people I talked to but at least I will say hi and smile if I happen to run into them. And who knows, I might learn to know some of them better. At least I am part of a new society now, which means more social events and new people.