Meeting in Barcelona can be a challenge for newcomers who aren’t familiar with using social networking.
Here at SuiteLife, we understand what it’s like to arrive in the city and only know a few people, which is why we are constantly suggesting using social media to meet people in Barcelona.
If you read our blog “7 Tips for Effective Social Networking in Barcelona, Spain” then you already know the importance of “liking” things on Facebook, and “following” people on Twitter, to get your name and face out there and begin connecting with others.
In the digital age, using social media has become increasingly important as people are less likely to go out and strike up conversations with strangers. It’s intimidating, especially when a language barrier exists and you aren’t one of those lucky extroverts who can talk to anyone.
I’ve personally used CouchSurfing, Meetup, and LoQuo Intercambios successfully to meet people in Barcelona and you can too!
I recommend joining a few clubs or activities and attending them regularly. Make yourself a familiar face and you’re guaranteed to stay busy and avoid the newly relocated, loneliness bug.
One organization I have found particularly useful in my travels is Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing’s mission “to create inspiring experiences” is achieved by connecting people in over 230 different countries using profiles, and providing various levels of affiliation with the site so that members can be verified and vouched for.
Unlike LoQuo.com where you meet absolute strangers, you can really get a sense of who someone is by reading their CouchSurfing profile, and unlike Facebook, the point is to connect with people you DON’T already know!
Barcelona has one of the largest and most active CouchSurfing communities and there are events nearly every day of the week in different parts of the city. The latest event I attended was a language exchange at a coffee shop near Parc de la Ciutadella. There were about twenty people there from all over the world. I spoke to people from France, Germany, Italy, and the United States.
It’s likely that if you go to a CS meeting you won’t be the only person who hasn’t learned their way around Barcelona just yet, so they’re an exciting place to meet other explorers and tourists.
So how do you get started? Simply login to the website, set your location, search for events, whatever area, and you’ll start to meet people in Barcelona!
Insider tip: When you start building a profile for yourself, try to be as detailed as you can. Other CouchSurfers will read it and with prompts like “Personal Philosophy,” and “Types of People I Enjoy” it pays to be true to yourself. After all, there is no point in meeting up people with whom you have nothing in common.
If you’re the activities type, Meetup is one website that will undoubtedly inspire you to get up and go meet people in Barcelona!
After you sign up, Meetup asks you about your interests and matches you to groups and activities in your area that cater to things that you like, everything from Salsa Dancing to Photography, to Nightlife, to Day Trips from Barcelona.
They will send out invites and newsletters to let you know what’s happening, so you don’t have to do the work of searching and reading through tons of pages.
I signed up for Yoga Challenge in Barcelona and Vinyasa Flow in English and the instructors of each contacted me with a welcome and some inside info about upcoming classes.
The best thing about Meetup, in my opinion, is the minimal role that the site’s administrators actually play in organizing activities and contacting members. It is more of a forum for people to stumble through events that are already happening with or without the extra online advertising.
Another great thing about Meetup is the multitude of outdoor/physical excursions. It’s even easier to converse with people with an activity at hand, as you can get past the obvious “What do you do in Barcelona?” and “How long have you been here?” questions and get right down to the nitty-gritty.
The only downside to Meetup is that there are a lot of events that cost money but this is to be expected if you want to go out and do things. If you’re looking to only spend a few Euros on an excursion I’d recommend grabbing a coffee or tea and linking up with this next suggestion.
Is your Spanish challenged? Yes, read on. No? Well, what about other languages?
Have you ever thought about learning French or Italian? Many people in Spain are multilingual and it’s good to keep an open mind when it comes to enhancing your linguistic abilities.
LoQuo.com is a vital source, not unlike the United States’ Craiglist, which can hook you up with jobs, apartments, free stuff, and much, much more.
I recently discovered the Intercambios section of the website and have been using it to meet with people one-on-one to practice my Spanish. I placed an ad several weeks ago and in a short time had dozens of responses from people who wanted to trade their knowledge of Spanish with my knowledge of English. What a great way to meet people in Barcelona!
I met several of them with mixed results and friended a few people on Facebook who I’ve been chatting with as well.
The great thing about LoQuo is that the responses are immediate and you can be specific in your ad about what you want to learn or get out of the exchange. The downside is that people e-mail you individually and your inbox might actually get flooded with people looking to meet you! Crazy I know.
The other negative is that before meeting a person off LoQuo, you only have an e-mail exchange to go from. I usually ask for a Facebook or Skype account to chat with the person first and make sure they are who they say they are. It sounds paranoid, and perhaps it is my Western upbringing, but before meeting someone offline you should always tell a friend where you’re going and who you’re meeting. Just in case.
I hope these three networks can be of assistance to those of you who are looking to meet people in Barcelona. Useful as they may be, remember not to get caught in the online loop, pull yourself away from Google, get out in the world, practice your Spanish, and SMILE! You’ll be glad that you did.