11 Ways to Make Friends When Studying Abroad | Top Universities

11 Ways to Make Friends When Studying Abroad

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Guest Writer

Updated Jul 05, 2023



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Guest post: Becky Pemberton

Starting university is daunting for everyone, but doing so in a foreign country can be terrifying. But with a great group of friends, your study abroad experience can be one of the best of your life.

You may have come with friends from home, or maybe you travelled alone. Either way, studying abroad gives you the chance to meet people from all over the world, and sets you up to fully experience a new destination.

Here are some ideas to help you make friends abroad and make the most of your new university life...

1. Join a society

There is, thankfully, a club for everyone at university – from sports teams and drama to the more wacky hobbies. These give you the best chance to meet other people who are also looking to make friends. Best of all, you’ll already have something in common with the people you meet (even if it’s Quidditch or 90s movies), which provides the ideal icebreaker. And usually societies will host lots of meetups, so you can get to know everyone better while bonding over your shared interests – perfect!

2. Go to as many events as you can

Take advantage of the first few weeks of university as much as possible. Friendship groups won’t have fully formed yet, so this is often the best time to make friends. While not all students have travelled thousands of miles for their studies, most will have left home for the first time and will be just as keen to find a friendly face as you.

3. Buy a door-stop

Make it easy for people to visit by leaving the door open in your student accommodation. People will be more likely to stop by and get to know if your room looks welcoming. You can get to know your new neighbors over a cup of coffee and a chat about class in the evenings – a great way to wind down after a day on campus.

4. Host a dinner party

Why not make dinner a communal activity in your new home? It’s the perfect excuse to get everyone out of their rooms and having fun in the kitchen. If you aren’t a confident cook, don’t panic! Take turns cooking with your housemates or cheat and buy some ready meals! Most people will just be happy to share something simple, especially if you are sharing a dish from your home country.

5. Put your eggs in more than one friendship basket

It’s great if you establish a group of amazing friends at university. But you should try and make a few friendship circles in different areas of your student life, such as people from your class, in the clubs you join and in your accommodation. This means you’ll always have someone to call if you need company, and guarantees you’ll never have a dull moment!

6. Spend less time in your room

Spend as little time as possible holed away in your bedroom, even if you have decorated it to look amazing! One of the best parts of university is getting to work with other students, in study groups or on shared projects. Nothing unites everyone as much as an all-nighter in the library with snacks. When you’re given a group project assignment, don’t just opt to team up with fellow international students; try and find some local students to partner up with. You’ll have lots of time to chat, come up with great ideas and celebrate your success over drinks.

7. Use social media

Don’t be shy when reaching out to your new classmates and peers on social media. It’s a great way of finding out what others are up to and joining in! University Facebook pages and Twitter accounts can help you to learn people’s names and also lets you know what events are coming up, so you can make sure you have time in your (now very busy) schedule!

8. Be open-minded

Although you may think you know who your ‘type’ of friend is, don’t let that hold you back. University is full of all different kinds of people and you shouldn’t make snap judgements about anyone before getting to know them. Friendships can spring up in the most unlikely of places.

9. Throw a party

Nothing cements friendships like a good soirée. And if you are looking to unite a big group of people, this can be the perfect opportunity – as long as it’s not against the rules in your accommodation. The best way to meet lots of new people is to join forces with your dorm-mates. And of course, students love anything free, so think about providing some nibbles or drinks.

10. Live in student accommodation

Opting for this student halls is a great way to live close to lots of other students. Most properties will have shared communal spaces to hang out in, and lots boast resident social committees who arrange fun meetups for all the students.

11. Be brave!

University (especially if you’re studying abroad) is all about new experiences and it gives you the chance to meet people from all walks of life. So put yourself out there and start doing things that are a bit outside your comfort zone. Try windsurfing, yoga, ballroom dancing, volunteering or simply saying ‘hi!’ and asking ‘how’s your day been?’ Join the football team, take up a cookery course or attend a meeting of the Viking Society – anything! Students are a sociable bunch, and you’ll be surprised by how easily you’ll make friends for life – once you’ve given yourself a little push.

Becky Pemberton is an editorial executive at Student.com, the world’s leading marketplace for student accommodation.

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