“This can’t be it for the rest of my life.”
Problem: Women who move abroad have a hard time making connections, but need friends to feel secure in their new environment.
How can we make moving abroad less anxiety provoking?
Moving abroad is hard.
It doesn’t matter what you moved abroad for - whether you moved for education or for work or just to have a new experience, you have had the point in your life when you were sitting at home and thought this can’t be it for the rest of my life.
There is a whole world out there - why not explore it?
One small problem: you don’t know anyone there.
The need for connection drives us as humans.
The feeling of loneliness in a new place - wanting to be able to just talk to someone about your day.
The need to connect.
Wanting to feel comfortable/at home.
OBJECTIVES FOR THE APP
Help people feel less nervous about meeting new people by providing them with common topics to discuss:
Countries lived in/visited
“What would make me feel at home?
A community. A group of friends.
For me I think that’s the major one.”
1. Feel less anxious about meeting new people.
2. Feel connected.
3. Make friends!
Feel at home.
In 2016, the U.S. State Department estimated that there are 9 million U.S. citizens living abroad, an increase from an estimate of 4 million in 1999.
That means 1.8 million people could use this.
Women sign up for meetups with the best of intentions but do not end up attending
What if it is awkward?
Not at the times when they are available.
Hard to get to and it may not be worth it.
Women are more likely to try to meet new people when they first arrive in a new country - become discouraged after a while
Women find it hard to know where to live in new cities as they don’t know anyone they can ask real life questions to (internet can be deceiving)
The is a clear difference between being a foreigner and a local.
Need people who understand what they are going through - they are experiencing culture shock and everyone else is acting like everything is completely normal.
"It's rare that a group of friends that have known each other for long just let you in."
"I find it quite hard to make friends."
Main competitors include Nextdoor, Bumble BFF, and Meetups - all of which are in essence aiming to help people feel connected, do not provide things in common over which people can connect.
Other competitors such as Duolingo, Church groups, Couch Surfing, Workaway, and book clubs are better examples of providing things in common for people to talk about, but whose main aim is not to make friends.
"I have a few friends who have been to meetups and I haven't heard any success stories. I haven't heard any horror stories, it just seems to be that it was fine but they're never going to see those people again."
"I make up an excuse not to go."
After interviewing multiple women living abroad, we began to focus on the things that make you have a better connection with someone in order to help understand what needed to be included in the solution:
At least 1 shared interest: this doesn’t have to be age, mainly it is just having something in common to talk about. Humor always helps as it makes things easier and it overcomes language barriers.
At least 1 friend in common: during interviews we found this was equally important when making new friends as new relationships through dating apps.
Shared history: people mentioned meeting others through alumni groups as they recognized those people are automatically their kind of people. Others mentioned having lived in the same place being the main topic of conversation.
These things make the meet up feel less forced and gives women a sense of security which is especially necessary when far from loved ones. Meeting up with a stranger can be dangerous, and knowing there are things in common helps you hold the other person accountable and know their background to be able to trust them.
- Friends in common
1. Help people feel less nervous about meeting new people.
2. Create the motivation necessary for people to meet others.
Based on this, we were able to create a MVP that helps women feel safe and provides at least one topic of conversation to combat awkward first meetings. The availability aspect of the app works around each individual’s schedule, meaning there is no schedule conflict that will prevent them from attending and gets rid of awkward back-and-forth conversations trying to pick a date and time.
In time, it would be nice to incorporate a rewards/consequences system. With other social oriented apps on the market, there is no consequence for cancelling last minute. Likewise, there is no reward for making it to a meetup. By providing rewards and consequences, users will be motivated to meet people. Examples of rewards could be VIP status or food/drink discounts linked with participating restaurants, while consequences could include not being recommended as a match for a set amount of time if you cancelled without explanation.