Bielefeld can be a challenging place to live for an expat looking for social connections. Thriving expat communities like the ones you find in cities such as Frankfurt am Main and Berlin unfortunately do not exist in Bielefeld. But don’t despair, there are other internationals here in Bielefeld that are looking to make contact! You might have to look around a bit, though.
To make it easier for you, I have made a list of all the groups I know of below.
These groups are also useful for German and other non-native speakers to practice English. The best way to learn and improve a language is to immerse yourself in it, after all!
The Englisch Stammtisch Bielefeld – this group has existed for almost 50 years (!), members are a mix of German people looking to improve their English, German people with excellent English who enjoy speaking it (this is probably the biggest group), and expats looking to not speak German for an evening. They meet up every two weeks on Friday. Check the blog to see when the next meetup is. You can also join the Facebook group, but the blog has more up-to-date info, I find. (Free)
Neu in Bielefeld on Meetup.com – not for English speakers specifically, but I have found there are quite a few internationals in the group, and the German members tend to speak good English. This is not a place to practice your English, but if you are an expat looking to meet other English speakers this might be a good group to try. (Free)
Bielefeld Internationals WhatsApp group – this used to be a group on meetup.com, but it’s a WhatsApp group nowadays. I’m a member of the group, so if you want to join, email me your number for WhatsApp and I can ask the admins to add you. info (at) heddwennewton.com (Free)
Bielefeld University’s English Drama Group – If you like drama, this is the group for you. They have two old blogs floating around, so beware of googling them. Here’s the current blog, and the Facebook page. (I don’t know if this group costs any money)
r/bielefeld on Reddit – not a social group, but certainly a place where English-speaking people from Bielefeld hang out online. Now and then there will be a shout-out for a new Dungeons and Dragons group, or a spontaneous meetup, or something along those lines. At the top of the page, you will find a link to the Bielefeld Discord, where you can chat to people in Bielefeld in real time. (Free)
Heddwen’s book club for (near) native speakers – I am Heddwen and you are currently on my website. Hi!
I started a book club for other native speakers and near native speakers last year, and it has been great. So great in fact, that I started another one.
The two groups are currently almost full, but if you are a native speaker with a love for reading, please reach out! Read more here. (Free)
Bielefeld Internationals Book Club – This book club is a WhatsApp group with irregular meetups. This is the place for you if you just want to be in a WhatsApp group and join a book club meetup when it takes your fancy, rather than committing to a meeting once a month.
I am not in this group and have nothing to do with the organisation of this group (I’m just mentioning this to clear up any confusion, not because I think the group is crummy or anything!)
I am in contact with the admin, so send me your phone number if you want to join, and I’ll ask her to add you. bookclub (at) heddwennewton.com.
You will not hurt my feelings by emailing me and asking to be added to a different group, promise. I will pass your number on in the knowledge of having helped a fellow English speaker in Bielefeld to find a group that is right for them 🙂 (Free)
Book club on Meetup.com – Judging by how many English book clubs there are in Bielefeld, reading books is clearly what all the cool kids are doing right now.
The meetup.com book club meets at 11 am on Saturdays, and attendance is optional. More info here.
English conversation classes at Volkshochschule – I do not know much about these classes except what I have read online, but I love the Volkshochschule as it is a place where people from all walks of life can improve their skills in almost any subject for not too much money. Here is a list of all their English courses, scroll through to find “conversation skills”. (116 euros/ 58 euros with Bielefeld pass)
English groups on Facebook – the best Facebook group to go to if you want to meet English speakers in Bielefeld is the Englisch Stammtisch mentioned at the top. The other two groups: Expats in Bielefeld and Native English speakers and friends living in NRW have both been paused by their admins. Bielefeld’s English crowd hasn’t even added me yet, and I’ve been waiting for 35 weeks (according to Facebook that is. I have not been counting the days on my calendar. Just so you know.)
Do you know of any other good groups for English speakers in Bielefeld? Share your knowledge in the comments!
Photo credit: https://relaxdach.de/terrassenueberdachung-bielefeld/