3 benefits of international friendship

4 minutes

Having friends from different parts of the world can change your life. Here's how.

Two Scouts in uniform give a thumbs up at the Denmark Scout Jamboree in 2022
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World Scout Bureau

Friendship is one of the most meaningful human connections we know. We often find friends among neighbors, classmates, colleagues, or people we meet in activities, like Scouting or sports teams.

But... have you ever met a friend from another country?

You might be surprised how international connections and friendships can help you in your personal development and fulfillment. You'll come to appreciate commonalities and differences, expand your perspectives, develop new skills, and maybe even enjoy unique travel experiences!

Let's discover three benefits of having international friends:

A Scout at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree puts face paint on a Scout from a different country during the cultural day
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World Scout Bureau

1. Gain a global vision

Growing your friend circle beyond borders is an adventure that will broaden your perspective on the world - including the place you’re from!

Meeting people from different countries means meeting different cultures, traditions, habits, foods, languages, values, ideas, and more. What is “common” or “normal” for you might be completely different for friends in another place.

It will help you appreciate different points of view and learn that there are many “right” ways of doing things. You may find yourself naturally applying principles of dialogue and peace-building. It’s a win-win: your friend’s realities will open your perspective and vice versa.

Scouts visit the Jordanian table to learn about their culture during the World Scout Jamboree in 2019
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World Scout Bureau

2. Improve communication skills

It’s often said that smiles are a universal language :)

Language differences might seem like an obstacle at first, but finding ways to understand each other is actually part of the fun! It’s an opportunity to learn to say “hola!” (‘hello’ in Spanish) in different languages and to help someone else learn your language. Meanwhile, you’ll develop valuable communication and interpersonal skills, like patience, kindness, body language, and active listening.

Whether you speak English, français, español, русский, عربى, português, Bahasa, or any of the 7100+ languages in the world - we are all united by some common traits. This is especially true for Scouts, united on the surface by our shared emblem, scarf and uniform, and deeper down in values from the Scout Promise and Law.

The more you keep in contact and practice, the easier it gets! To help you out, we prepared 10 conversation starters for talking with international friends.

A small group of Scouts from different places sit on the grass together
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World Scout Bureau

3. Feel at home around the world

With your newfound perspective and awesome communication skills, one day you might even have the opportunity to visit friends in far places, or to host a friend in your hometown! Wouldn’t that be fun?

Once you’ve formed a friendship and learned so much about your international friends, visiting their homeland may quickly feel like a second home to you. You’ll find that sharing experiences in your home countries will make your bond stronger.

Three girl scouts look at a world map together during JOTA-JOTI
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World Scout Bureau

These are just three of the many benefits you can enjoy when you expand your friendships beyond borders. You’ll find fun and satisfaction knowing you can meet people around the world who you can relate to, bond with, and learn from. 

Scouts gather at the main stage during the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia
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World Scout Bureau

Build global connections through Scouting

Being a Scout opens opportunities to meet new people through regional and world events.

For example, each Scout region and World Scouting host in-person jamborees and youth forums, and every year World Scouting hosts JOTA-JOTI (the Jamboree On The Air - Jamboree On The Internet), a free and open event where you can connect with young people online and on the radio from all over the map!

As Scouts, we’re all about having fun - and our favorite kind of fun just happens to expand our horizons! There is no doubt about it: when we all come together, we can create a better world!

Ready to expand your global connections? Check out an upcoming Scout event on our events calendar!

A Scout group in Ghana sits in front of a laptop in a classroom while video chatting with Scouts from another country during JOTA-JOTI
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World Scout Bureau
Reminder: Have fun but be safe! Take our "Be Safe Online" e-course today.
Let's go!

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