Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

4 Ways Bilingual Families Can Integrate in Their Neighborhoods

Moving to a new neighborhood gives you the chance to make new friends with your neighbors. However, being bilingual can sometimes create some challenges when it comes to reaching out to say hello to other people. Although a friendly smile goes a long way, you can also use these strategies to start making friends and fit into your new neighborhood.

Meet Your Immediate Neighbors

One of the easiest ways to integrate into a new neighborhood is to just say hi to the people who live immediately next door. Try to look for an opportunity when they aren’t too busy, such as when their kids are playing outside. Then, walk over and introduce yourself. They’ll likely be happy to meet you since everyone likes to know their neighbor. You should also be able to make several new friends this way.

Enroll Your Children in Preschool

Meeting other parents is a great way to make new friends in your neighborhood. At a bilingual early childhood center, your child will receive learning opportunities that foster their vocabulary development in both of their languages. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet other parents during pick up and drop off times along with special family events. Inviting your child’s new friends over to play also helps you to get a chance to get to know the other parents better.

Attend a Community Event

Many neighborhoods host regular special events throughout the year. For example, your community might host a block party or outdoor festival. If so, then make plans to attend the event and mingle with the crowd. This is a great time to reach out and ask people questions, such as where their kids attend school, to spark new conversations with the people who live near you.

Volunteer Your Services

Working alongside other people is a great way to bond when you might be uncomfortable with your ability to speak their language well. Most neighborhoods need people to help out with things such as setting up for local public events as well as cleaning up common areas such as parks. Look for ways that you can volunteer, and you can bet that you’ll meet other people who also want to serve an active role in their communities.

Integrating into a new neighborhood takes time. Be sure to go easy on yourself if you don’t instantly make friends. Instead, take the viewpoint that you must consistently work on getting to know other people. From inviting your kid’s friend’s parents over to making a concerted effort to meet new people each day, you’ll soon find that you are an accepted and admired member of the area in which you live.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

Tim Esterdahl

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