I think I started communicating with people outside of the Netherlands when I was about 14. I met a group of people who loved the same tv show as me. They were all from the USA and it was nice having people to talk to who had the same interests. Ever since I've gotten many more friends from all over the world. In my opinion it is one of the best things that happened to me. And I would like to tell you why everyone should find an international friend.
Your English will improve.
I met most of my international friends on twitter, and since they did not speak Dutch, I would have to speak English. By talking to them daily my English improved rapidly. I learned so much more online than I did at school. I learned so many new words and phrases. And because I was (and still am) mainly on twitter I would have to shorten my messages, which taught me to play with words and shorten them. Now I have friends from all over the world. Not only the UK and the USA, but also Sweden, France, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark. China, Japan, Australia, and many more countries. English makes it possible to communicate with all those people, and I think that's pretty special.
Your view of the world will change.
Because I've met so many people from different countries my view of certain topics in the world really changed. I've become quite open minded and way more understanding about certain things. I realised that living here isn't always that bad and that I'm quite lucky with the freedom I have here. But I also realised that some things are way better in other countries and that my country should really work on that. I've also learned a lot about racism and how it affects certain people.
You'll learn many things.
I've learned so much about other cultures and I've also learned a few words in foreign languages. I love learning about other cultures and religions and talking to people all around the world helps me to do that. It also made me respect other cultures a lot more.
And of course you'll have a place to stay in other countries.
This is also worth mentioning, because now that I know so many people from different countries I always have a place to stay if I were to visit that country. And even if I don't stay there, if I do visit the country I can ask for advice and tips about what to do and where to go. So far I've only stayed with someone once, which were two lovely girls from the UK. But I'm going to Stockholm this summer and my Swedish friend offered to help me sort things out, which is very nice.
Conclusion: having an international friend is loads of fun, and in my personal experience it truly improved my life. If you want to find yourself an international friend I suggest signing up for InterPals. I signed up about a week ago to see what it was like, and I already met many interesting people!
Do you have an international friend? Let me know!