October 6, 2017, by Agata

10 ways to make friends at University of Nottingham!

Hey! A new academic year has just started! For many of you that means a lot of changes: new flatmates, new university, new town or even new country! Some of you may face a lot of stresses about it! But… do not worry! You are not alone!

One of the popular reasons for this stress is fear of lack of friends in the new place. Personally, before moving to the UK I had a lot of questions in my head like: How am I going to meet new friends? Am I going to be completely alone over there?!

Today, I know there was no reason to be afraid at that time! In my first post on that blog, I decided to share my experience and ways I used to meet new people in new place!

  1. Read a bit about the new place!

Do a little research about popular places in Nottingham, what is interesting for you here or what would like to see. Sometimes, even unexpectedly, you may get an invitation to go for some trip or you would be able to suggest a place for sightseeing and get closer to people during your trip! Therefore, some knowledge about new place is very useful, especially at the beginning; D

A month after my arrival to Nottingham I took a chance to participate in the trip to Stonehenge – I created there one of my current best friendships in Nottingham (and felt in love with Greek people!)

  1. Check Facebook!

Check out Facebook: University of Nottingham fan page, fan page of places in Nottingham, search for groups created especially for freshers or for people looking for new houses – it was always the easiest way for me to find first (virtual) contacts before I had even arrived. I could also ask all questions about a new place there. Actually, when I arrived in Nottingham, my first weeks I spend with people I met on the group for International Students! Together we went to a bank,  we learned about health care in the UK, where to create our student ID etc.

I joined approximately 30 groups in Nottingham; currently, I do not use most of them, however, at the beginning I did know which group would be the most popular and active so I joined as many as I found being interesting. Thanks to these groups, in the first day after my arrival I had a chance to meet new people and familiarize with Nottingham. 

  1. Participate in the welcome events!

Check what kind of fresher’s events University organize at the beginning of academic year. Very often students organize Welcome Week to help you meet new friends, societies invite for free teaser session. That is great chance to meet new friends as most people do not know each other and they are more open and easier to talk with!

  1. Be open to learning new things!

Be open and join societies or any additional lessons! Salsa, Spanish lessons, polish society, gym, tourism, Postgraduate Committee, pole dance, photography, Zumba, science outreach – you would not guess that one person can do all of it, right? However, that is a list (and probably not full) of activities I tried over… 2 past years! 😉 Obviously, I do not continue all of them, but still, I know people I met there, right? You never know where are you going to meet your future best friend! Additionally, friends meet outside of your course/Uni may help you to rest from people you see on the daily basis like at lectures, in the office or your flatmates.

Salsa Society was one of the first societies I joined at University of Nottingham. Thanks to that, after 4 months I was able to take part in the team Salsa Competition in Birmingham and it was a great experience! This is all our team!  

  1. Find people from your country/region!

If you just moved from abroad it would be worthy to find a group of people from your country (there are also many societies gathering people from the same countries, for example, Polish Society). People sharing the same culture and language help to deal with the cultural shock.  If you are just from another city, knowing somebody from your family town is also great, for example, to travel home with 😉

  1. Volunteer!

Students at Uni very often organize various events and usually, they need a help! Take that chance! Volunteering is an excellent opportunity to meet new people with a lot of energy,  initiative, and creativity. During the organization of the Postgraduate Winter Ball, I met one of the most positive people at UoN!

Only 2 months after my arrival Postgraduate Committee launched our first project: Postgraduate Winter Ball. I met there really awesome people!

  1. Create a blog!

New place, new activities are a very good subject for blogging. Sharing your experience definitely helps to create new friends! Additionally, your blog can be a great source of knowledge for prospective students who you can meet in next academic year!

  1. Live in a dorm/shared accommodation!

I used to live in a dorm for 5 years while I was studying in Warsaw. I collected a massive amount of awesome memories and I met amazing people there! It was also a chance to meet a lot of foreign students in my own country and learn about new cultures! It was really worthy to live there despite I could not imagine myself living in the dorm at the beginning.

Now as a Postgrad every year I share accommodation with 2-3 more people and I need to admit that I have never regretted it. Far away from home, cooking together, having movie nights, board game evenings or even cleaning together make that your flatmates often become your little family.

  1. Accept invitations!

Parties, walks, sightseeing, cooking… just say ‘yes’ for all of it! Do not worry about feeling uncomfortable at the beginning; at the worst case, you can always go home earlier! 🙂 However, I am sure most of the invitations would be just a great chance to meet new interesting people!

  1. Try to stay busy!

Do not go home after classes just to spend the evening alone on the front of the computer. Plan, hang out, especially in the very first weeks in the new place, when other people also look for friends and trying to make new contacts! It is worthy! I promise!

So much happiness! After months of evening meetings, we organized LINK16 conference for over 150 people! 

REMEMBER! Every friend you have ever had was once a stranger!

If you want to know what’s going on on the daily basis of PhD student go to my Instagram profile @beascientist_  or to https://www.facebook.com/beascientistbyagata where I share my PhD life experience!

Your Agata!

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