BA English, The University of Glasgow, UK.
Socialising and making new friends.
So I hear you are on your way to study abroad! You must be excited, and have every reason to be! You are about to start a new, independent life away from your home country. It also means you will be far from your family and friends. This in itself may have you a bit anxious, but do not worry. Making friends and socialising is a big step when arriving at Uni, a vital one to make you feel at home again. Here are some tips to make it work.
Be likeable –
Do not be afraid to go up to people and introduce yourself: there is no shame in looking for friends when you first arrive. Most people in first year will be as rootless and disoriented as you. Keep smiling at all times, be selfless, helpful, positive and funny, and of course, be yourself. Be curious about other people’s origins, mother tongues, interests: they then will be curious about you too and here come many subjects of discussion and the start of a great friendship!
You can show up a bit in advance before your lectures or seminars start. That way, you can jump on the occasion to chat with your classmates and maybe get them to accompany you for a coffee at the end of the class!
There is nothing to worry about: if like me you study at a big British university, chances are there will be more than 20 000 students to meet, and that means plenty of fish in the ocean with whom to become friends. Just remember that friendships, as well as healthy relationships in general are nurtured, not born. You cannot expect other people to put effort in them if you are not willing to do the same. There must be give and take on both sides.
Get involved –
Join societies or sports clubs. Volunteer with a charity. Become a representative for your student association. Opportunities are plentiful, and will enable you to both meet people and achieve some great team work, as well as getting skills that will stand out on a CV. There is no better way to bond with someone than over a common interest or pastime!
Find events –
It is likely that your university will organise a freshers’ week. You will party a lot, get many freebies and pizza slices, take part in creative workshops, campus tours and social events. An exciting week where you will encounter more new people than ever before in your life: international students of all horizons, or home students eager to make acquaintances.
You can also skim your Facebook timeline in a hunt for exciting events, such as film screenings, concerts, free entry club or karaoke nights. Websites like Couchsurfing or more local meet up websites also have their share of exciting events like pub nights and language cafes!
Remember to be kind and give a chance to everyone you meet: who knows, you might be travelling around the world with them in a few years’ time! As you will soon find out, university is the perfect place to start beautiful, long-lasting friendships!