Making new friends and widening your network before university can be very helpful for international students when they begin their study abroad. It is often easy to make new friends once you have already started a new course and meet your classmates. However, it is also crucial to meet other friends and build relationships before the new term starts. It can make settling in a lot easier and help you become more confident. So how can we do that when you’re unlikely to meet these new people in person?
Join your country’s alumni society
Before coming to Lincoln, the university sent one email to guide me on what I need to do to prepare for my flight and what I should do when I arrive. They also provided me with the link of the Chinese students’ group in Lincoln. From that group, I also could make friends with other people who would be starting the course at the same time as me and connect with other alumni to ask for their experience at university. I personally think that if you can find your country’s student group to get to know a few people first, it will be much better than knowing no one when you do start.
Making friends on arrival day
The university normally offers a free airport pick-up service for international students. On that day, they will gather all new students from different countries and drive to Lincoln together. The arrival day usually happens before the start of term to ensure that newbies have enough time to get ready for their new course. I still remember that on arrival day, I met a lot of students not only from my country but also from other nations. This is a great opportunity to make new connections regardless of whether they are studying the same course as you. This is helpful when you do not have any friends in the UK already.
Widen your network in Open Week
The University of Lincoln offers one Open Week for new students before the course officially starts. During this Open Week, there will be a lot of activities that gather a lot of students, especially the International Student Welcome Party. If you already missed the two options I mentioned above, you can take part in these activities to make some friends and exchange culture. Ultimately, if you worry that you cannot make any friends in Lincoln, the university 100% will support you and offer a variety of activities to help new students not to feel lonely, even before or after the course starts. Therefore, do not be shy and open your connection to everyone.
By Jiafu Chen, BEng Mechanical Engineering student from China.