Being an international student at a university can be quite a challenge, but the good news is that you are not the only one who has to face this.
I came to the University of Lincoln in the UK from Poland, and didn’t know anyone at all.
Moreover, I hadn’t ever visited the city of Lincoln before the start of the first year. At first, I thought I needed to engage in every possible activity and event and get out of my comfort zone to get to know other people. I put a lot of pressure on myself to find friends at the beginning of the year, because it would soon be too late to join any groups.
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I was meeting lots of new people and wanted to be friends with everyone. Although I did not become good friends with every person, after some time I was lucky enough to find a few people that I had a lot in common with and they became my best friends.
At many universities there are plenty of societies that give students the chance to meet others that have the same interests as them. There are also special events and meetings for international students, so there is the opportunity to meet other students from your own country.
Another thing that may be seen as a barrier for foreign students is language. However, if you get nervous around people, try to remember that most people will understand that you are trying to communicate.
If you are being taught in a language that isn’t your first, you’ll find that you receive a lot of practice by doing your university work or just listening to lecturers and other students.
I therefore learned an important lesson: not to rush getting to know people or to remain friends with the first people you meet even if you have nothing in common. It will never be too late to find good friends. As time went on and I continued to attend lectures and seminars and I tried some societies, I met more people that I now count as friends.
Do not try to fit into some friendship groups if it doesn’t feel right for you – it could cost you your well-being. University is a place that gives you not only an opportunity to broaden your knowledge, but also an environment to make friends from all over the world.
If you’re concerned about making friends as an international student, then blogger Weronika Denes, a Polish student studying in the UK, has some tips and advice to help you