I'm working overseas and almost all of my colleagues speak another language (their native language). They talk to me in English regarding work-related stuff and everyone speaks English during meetings. So this is fine.
However, during lunch time or other personal conversations in the office, everyone almost speaks their native language and I feel excluded. Like, whenever we all go out for lunch, I would sit with them quietly while they all talk about something I don't understand.
Sometimes, they would change into English and that's only the time I can join in the conversation but after a while, they'll speak in their native language and I'll feel excluded again.
(Personally, if I am talking to someone who speaks my native language and someone joins in who doesn't speak it, I would automatically switch to English. I would feel very uncomfortable with someone sitting there not knowing what we are talking about.)
I'm not used to this set-up because in my previous work (in this same country), all my colleagues would speak English once they know that someone in the table cannot speak their native language. That way, I was able to make good friends in the office (who are friends outside the office too).
Most of my waking hours in a week are spent in the office and it's very frustrating to have no friends in the office where I spend 8 hours a day, 5x a week due to the language barrier. And even more frustrating because they all speak fluent English, just that it's not their preferred mode of speaking. Which I understand because it's not their native language.
My question is how do I deal with such an environment? Should I just consider the people in the office as just colleagues, start distancing myself (like maybe lunch on my own?), and give up on any hope of making personal friends there?
On one hand, I won't have friends in the office and I'm just there purely for work but on the other hand, my life would be easier if I remove any expectations of making friends. If I distance myself, then I won't feel intentionally excluded (although they may not intend it, that's how I feel). It's just a bullet I have to bite by working in a foreign country.