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How To Make Friends In Rome While Embracing The Culture

Learning how to make friends in Rome is the best way to continue to develop Italian language skills, integrate into the culture and be mentally healthy is easy.

The subject of making friends in Italy is a loaded topic. I have felt the need to meet more people here in Rome because I believe this is the best way to continue to develop my language skills, you can integrate into society better and it is healthy to develop friendships. We have made friends, but the majority are English speakers and that doesn’t help me overcome the language barriers that I run into in everyday life.

Is It Hard To Make Friends In Rome?

When I was younger I would make friends at work, while having fun doing recreational activities like sailing or photography, by joining a social group that shared interests like drinking wine or taking an Italian language class at a school. These friendships were great, but the challenge I have today is that I am working from home, working with a private tutor for my language development and not yet getting involved in organized social activities has made this pretty difficult for me, and being a bit of an introvert adds to this challenge as well.

I’ve made changes to my work schedule and I have been trying to be more proactive when it comes to engaging with other people, but I think the biggest change has been due to joining a few groups that will grow into something more. Here are some of what I’ve discovered so far, but I expect this will develop and grow into more directions in the future.

Focus On Your Friends

This is probably obvious to most people, but there are those that might not think that their English speaking friends can help them meet Italian speakers. While it certainly depends on your friends, this is an easy place to start. If they have Italian friends, see if any of them are learning English and would like to get together for a language exchange.

So far, what I’ve found is that English is still a pretty popular language for Italians to either learn or maintain, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone with whom to talk. If you are in the US and trying this, it is a little more difficult since an Italian living in the US would have an almost endless supply of English speakers from which to choose.

How To Make Friends In Rome With Online Social Groups

Italian Cultural LinkedIn Groups

I hadn’t considered this path initially because as an early adopter, I joined in 2004, I have always viewed LinkedIn as a place for strictly business related activities. Over the years this has changed, and certainly accelerated once it was bought by Microsoft, as more and more activities and groups have grown on LinkedIn. 


 

how to make friends in Rome - LinkedIn

Taking a quick look at groups in Rome, there is a range of business related communities, freelance English language teachers, college alumni groups with a location in Italy and social groups. One that caught my eye is FriendsInRome, which describes itself as:

“FriendsInRome is the leading international social group in Rome that organizes many social and cultural events with the aim of encouraging interaction between Italians and foreigners who visit or live in Rome. It all starts online and then moves into the real world.”

Learn Italian In Italy With Tandem

This app is new to me, but it is really exciting to have completed the application and start talking with people.


 

how to make friends in Rome - Tandem

Tandem is a mobile app that brings together language learners. Members of the community teach each other their native languages via text, audio, and video chat. You can also, after meeting them in the app, set up a time to get a coffee and talk, if that is what you are looking for.

On the App, after filling out your application and being accepted into our community, you will be shown members who speak the language you want to learn and who want to learn the language that you speak. You can filter who you are shown, so if you only want to talk with people in Italy, or specifically Rome, you can limit the results. You will then be able to reach out to other members of the community and start your language exchange.

Conversation Exchange With The Italian Language

Similar to Tandem,  Conversation Exchange is a free online service that allows you to practice both your written and spoken language skills with a native speaker who wants to learn your mother tongue as well. This service seems more focused on their website and I don’t believe that there is an app to download.


 

how to make friends in Rome - Conversation Exchange

I had an odd experience with Conversation Exchange years ago but I think things have improved. I looked into joining because it seemed like a good tool for my language learning. When I went to the site I got an odd vibe that it is more about social interactions and dating instead of language learning. The profile pictures were reminiscent of dating apps and since that wasn’t my interest, I left the site. I went back recently and found it to be more focused on the languages. The profile pictures were replaced with only being able to select from a small group of drawings and my experience so far has been great and focused on the languages.

Meetup With Italian Friends

Similar to LinkedIn, Meetup has a broad spectrum of groups in Rome and around Italy that you can join. From language exchanges, art enthusiasts, religious organizations, photography or simply to meeting up for an Aperitivo.


 

how to make friends in Rome - Meetup

Joining is free and when you reach out to a group you want to join, you can see if their activities have a small cost associated with them. What I’ve experienced is that these costs are minimal and really only intended to pay for supplies or to pay for the space.

Making Italian Friends With iTalki?

Using iTalki.com is great, and I’ve used it for years, but if you are looking for friends, this might get a little tricky.


 

how to make friends in Rome - iTalki

These are professional paid teachers and they are there to teach you Italian (if that’s what you want) so it probably isn’t appropriate to ask about language exchanges right off the bat. You could consider this as a discussion topic during a lesson and see how they react to getting you in touch with someone who wants to learn your mother tongue. There are also Community Tutors, who are also paid, but might also be helpful in expanding your language learning opportunities and meeting more friends.

How Do You Make Friends In Rome, Italy?

It has been a great experience learning about these different avenues to go down on my journey to more fully understand and integrate into Roman life. These are where I began, but it is definitely a work in progress. My recommendation is that you dip your toe into this pool slowly so as to not get overwhelmed, but continue to see what is out there. Being an English speaker in Italy makes language exchanges easier and you should definitely break out of your comfort zone and meet your new neighbors and/or compatriots.

Trying To Understand Italian Culture

If you are trying to understand how to make friends in Rome, or if you just enjoy learning about the cultural differences between Italy and the US, check out some of these other posts:

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