How to Break the Ice in English

To “break the ice” is an English idiom. It means to start a conversation with someone you have not met before.

If you are going to be travelling or studying somewhere new and would like to know how to "break the ice" in English, then here is a short guide to the perfect "ice breaker questions".

Always start the question with a Where, What, How, Why or Who. These questions are "open-ended". "Open-ended" means that they cannot be answered with a yes or no answer. The person you are asking has to give you a full answer, which will give you more information about them.

First meeting questions
“Where did you grow up?”
This is a great way to find out where someone is from and what culture they are used to.

“What does your name mean?”
This shows that you are really interested in the person you are talking to. It is another great insight into their cultural background.

“What is your favorite type of music?”
Music is a universal passion, so you’ll always get a great answer. You could find someone who shares your record collection!

“What are your plans for this evening?”
You can find out what the person likes to do. Hopefully they will invite you along!

Finding out about other people's cultures is a great way to break the ice!
Finding out about other people's cultures is a great way to break the ice!

Fun questions
“If you could have any super power, what would it be?”
This is the start to a great coversation, it can lead into lots of possibilites and scenarios.

“What is the craziest thing you've ever done?”
This story is guaranteed to have a funny response and you get to see a different side to the person you are asking!

“If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could have only 1 item, what would it be?”
This question always makes the person think about what the most important things are to them.

Where would you go if you were stranded here? ;)
What would you do if you were stranded here? 

Personal questions
“Who do you look up to?”
This is a really interesting as the answer can be anything from a celebrity to a family member. It also shows what values are important to the person you are asking.

"Where do you see yourself in five years' time?"
This question encourages people to share their hopes and ambitions and usually leads to conversations about the future - great if you are studying together!

Are you travelling this year or studying at a new destination? Let us know if you have found these ice breakers useful! If you have any of your own, we'd love to hear your suggestions!

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