New city, new chapter in your life: You’re studying in a new city and now have to face the challenge of making new contacts at university. In this article we show you how to approach new people and make new friends easily!
Beginning new studies is a whole new chapter in your life, especially if you decided to move to another city. This means you left your familiar environment as well as family and friends behind to start all over again. To help you make contacts as easy as possible, we collected 10 tips for you on how to make friends when you move.
1. Move as early as possible
Try to set your moving date before the start of your study. This doesn’t only give you more time to move in, but also gives you the opportunity to make some contacts in your initial free time. Questions on visiting government offices or the city are a great opportunity to get to know people, too. Furthermore, you can use your free time to enjoy parties and other events while you don’t have to study.
2. Send positive vibes
Starting to study always means a huge change as it’s a new period in your life. If you’re also moving to another city, it can be really frightening: You’re in a new city without any people you know and maybe it’s your first time to spread your wings. But chin up, wallowing in self-pity won’t help you now. Look at it as a new challenge which allows you to grow. Send positive vibes by smiling a lot and walking openly through the world. This way you will attract the attention of others in a positive way and maybe they will come to you.
3. Search for the key people
Especially if you struggle with approaching other people, it might be helpful for you to search for a key person and make a contact with that person. Key persons are characterised by knowing a lot of people, being socially connected and having a great network of friends.
4. Stay for the weekend to find new friends
Even if you’re homesick, stay at the university for the weekend, don’t drive home. If you’re miles away, you can’t take part in parties or spontaneous meetings where you could make contact with new people or take care of the contacts you already made. Imagine on Monday morning everyone talking about that one fantastic party on Saturday evening and you’re the only one that can’t take part in the conversation. Of course you can visit your family at the weekend, but maybe not every weekend – and try to avoid doing so during the first few weekends.
5. Get to know the other non-locals
Especially if you move to a large city, you certainly aren’t the only one that recently moved in. Search for others via the internet or apps so you can maybe explore the city together. Examples of such apps include Ameego, where you can search for others with the same interests, and Meetup, where you can join groups that share a common interest.
6. Plug into the offers of the university
At the beginning of the semester, every university offers events for freshmen where you can get to know the university and your fellow students. You shouldn’t miss these events, as this is the place where everyone meets for the first time and where first friendships are formed. It is much more difficult to make friends in existing groups later on than in the beginning, when everyone doesn’t know anyone.
7. Pursue your hobbies
Check out what’s being offered by your university and city. You can meet new people who share similar interests as you at university clubs, and other meetups in your new city. This has the advantage that you have a topic you can talk about directly, because you definitely share something in common. If you have met somebody at a sports club, you can also arrange to meet that person for sports events in the future. That way you not only make contacts, but you also motivate each other to participate in city events.
8. Explore common areas
If you live in a student residence, you can look around there for new contacts. Does the dormitory offer movie or game nights, for example? If not, you can also get in touch with your neighbours by leaving your door open and giving them the opportunity to talk to you. Or you can go straight to the others by knocking on their door. Maybe they want to hang out with you or go for a coffee.
9. Think about living in a shared flat
In a shared flat you can easily meet new people, as you can’t help but spend time with your flatmates. This way you can connect directly and have someone to cook with, talk to and go to parties with. If you are still unsure about some household matters, your roommates can certainly help you, so you don’t have to do things all by yourself.
10. Don’t stay in your room when studying
Don’t always hide in your room to study, but pack your things and go to the dormitory common room (if available) or to the university library. This way you give others the opportunity to talk to you and you can talk to others. If you have already made friends, you can also make appointments with them to study. And studying in a group is way more fun anyway!
Never give up!
Of course, there is no perfect plan for making friends at university. Sometimes you don’t dare to talk to someone and the right moment passes by. Sometimes you get turned down or notice that you don’t get along with the character of the other person. But there is only one thing to do: Don’t give up! Keep trying to find the right people, and you’ll find them eventually.