by Kiranpreet Basra
Amongst the fears of moving across the pond, we also fear if we are going to make friends. This is one of the things I was most worried about as without friends, the experience would be very lonely. However, I assure you, it is much easier to make friends than you would expect!
The first way to befriend other international students – before even going abroad are Facebook and Whatsapp groups. I got to know the group of friends that I have now, due to these groups. Everyone is in the same boat, whether you are an international student or not. This meaning that everyone is trying to find friends, or at least get familiar with a few people before uni starts. I would definitely recommend getting involved in these groups and talking about yourself because I did that, and everyone is so friendly and accepting. The larger groups, so for example I was in the “Law Freshers” group was then divided into a smaller group of just Canadians on the course, this was super helpful again, because it allows you to see who you will be studying with abroad.
The second way to befriend international students is when you first arrive at the uni. There will be “Freshers Week” which has a bunch of activities and parties you can attend to help get familiar around campus and the city, as well as make new friends. For my first week at Leicester, we had a few lectures surrounding the law school and what to expect, this was a great way for me to put faces to names that I had read in the chat. The friends that I made from the chat agreed to go together to these lectures so we would all have someone to sit with, I suggest doing this as well, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
The third way which can help you to make friends are tutorial groups. At Leicester we have tutorials for each class every 2 weeks, the tutorial groups consist of 5-8 people and they’re all in the same program. This meaning that my group members are all Canadian and in the 2 year JD Pathway program as well. These are people that you see so often and end up befriending. One of my now really good friends is from my tutorial group and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
Lastly, the best way to befriend other international students is to put yourself out there! Everyone is literally in the same boat as you and they all are nervous about meeting new people and living in a new area. Once you get your core group of friends at the beginning, there is no going downhill from there. I highly believe that these are the friends that will last you a lifetime. If you have any more questions or concerns, ATP Advisors are always there to help. I would ask my advisor so many questions and she would always reassure me and be a shoulder to lean on whenever I was feeling nervous. Go to https://ca.studyacrossthepond.com/ for more information as to how you can apply!