Finding your tribe: how to make friends at university

Studying for your degree abroad is like starting a whole new chapter in your life.

It’s such an exciting time but it’s also natural to feel a little nervous. You’ll be leaving everything that’s familiar – including your friends – behind.

But don’t be daunted, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to form new friendships that will last a lifetime! If you’re worried about finding your tribe, keep reading for our suggestions on how to make friends at university.

1. Do some online detective work

Finding your tribe: how to make friends at university: find clubs on social media

You can begin your online clubs and societies research before you leave your home country – you might even make new friends before you even arrive at university!

We’re all guilty of checking out online profiles of people we don’t even know. Busted! Now’s the time to use social media to your advantage.

Check if there’s a Facebook group for your course or your accommodation and join in – or start – the conversations.

You could try searching for other online communities too, such as university forums, to get a head start and meet other future students.

Your university may even have an online buddy scheme, partnering you up with a current student before the start of your course. You will have made new connections before you even leave home!

2. Join clubs and societies

How to make friends at university - join societies

Elvira (centre) from Indonesia joined the Newcastle University Television (NUTV).

This has to be the easiest way to make friends! By joining a club you’re guaranteed to meet a load of like-minded people who share your passions and interests. Whether you’re into basketball, filmmaking, debating, dance or quidditch (yes, really), there’s bound to be a club that suits you.

Not only are clubs and societies about having fun and making friends, there are other benefits to joining them too. They can help you to develop skills that will look great on your CV. You’ll broaden your social circle too – meeting people from all sorts of nationalities and backgrounds, studying on different courses.

Read about how Elvira discovered a new passion through a society.

3. Be open to new experiences

How to make friends at university - say yes!

Be a YES person!

Going to university is a great time to try new things. If you’re invited to an event or a social gathering, be open to the opportunity and say “yes!”, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone.

You can’t expect to find your type of people if you don’t get out there! You may discover something new about yourself and make new pals along the way.

So, say yes more. In fact, say hello, smile and introduce yourself more. Being friendly counts for a lot. Chances are, you’ll make more friends.

4. Take the first step

Cooking is a great way to make new friends at university. INTO University of Gloucestershire student Taís (bottom left) from Brazil sharing a meal with her #INTOfriends.

INTO student Taís (bottom left) from Brazil sharing a meal with her #INTOfriends.

Someone always has to be the initiator. Why not let that someone be you? Not got any plans for your lunch break? Ask a classmate to join you! Want to explore your new home?

See if your flatmates are free. You’d be surprised where these interactions could lead.

A post shared by INTO Study (@intostudy) on

How about offering to make dinner for your flatmates? If cooking’s not your thing, you could suggest setting up a study group with your classmates.

But how can cooking or studying together help you to make friends? It doesn’t really matter what you do, the point is you’re asking people to join in a shared activity with you. And great friendships can develop from shared experiences.

5. Be true to yourself

Finding your tribe: how to make friends at university

Find the Chandler to your Joey 😍

OK, so we’re getting serious now. Sit down and have a think about who you are and the type of friends you’re looking for. It’s natural to want to find people like you. People who just ‘get’ you and you can totally relax around.

You know the sort of friends we mean. The ones who you can talk to endlessly about nothing in particular or sit in comfortable silence together. The ones who make you laugh until you cry and make you happy when you’re sad.

Being yourself is the best approach when meeting new people. After all, you want to be liked for who you really are, not a fake version of yourself! What’s important to remember is that everyone is different, and it’s those differences that make us interesting.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, have an amazing time at university and find those lifelong buddies. Your tribe is waiting for you!

Read Masaad and Dhanal’s tips about how to make new friends in the first month of studying abroad, or Chiedza’s fail-safe ways to make new best friends.

Find out more about studying abroad by visiting INTO Study.

Connect with other successful students who are studying abroad on INTO Community app, or on our socials: YouTubeFacebookInstagram and Twitter

Clare Allan

Hi, I’m Clare, one of the Content Editors here at INTO in Brighton. I find hearing students’ stories about studying abroad so inspirational. When I’m not in the office writing, I love to travel, discovering new places and cuisines.

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