International Students

International Student How to Build Connections in the UK

International Student How to Build Connections in the UK

Moving to the UK as an international student can be overwhelming, especially for someone like 19-year-old María Hernández, who will start her university studies in Bristol next year.

Navigating loneliness as an international student and how to build connections and maximize your University experience

Leaving behind her supportive family network in the South of Spain and being surrounded by unfamiliar faces will be challenging.

Adapting to new academic structures and workloads can become even more daunting when coupled with the fear of struggling to establish a social circle at the new University.

This article will explore practical strategies to help international students overcome loneliness, build new connections, and fully embrace their university experience.

Hello there! Here you will find STUDENT ACCOMMODATION IN BRISTOL.

Preparing before arrival: Set yourself up for success

Taking proactive steps to foster connections is essential before setting foot on campus, even before classes begin.

María Hernández, true to her ambition of making new friends, initiated conversations with other international students through the Student's Union Bristol a few months before her move.

Students' Union Bristol

All University of Bristol students automatically become part of the Students' Union.

There's an array of opportunities provided by Bristol SU to maximize your university life:

  • You can participate in over 300 societies and 60 sports clubs, encompassing interests ranging from music and dance to politics and culinary arts.
  • Connect with individuals sharing your interests at various gatherings.
  • Contribute to community service and charity through volunteering and RAG fundraising efforts.
  • Initiate or support a cause to voice your opinions.
  • Seek guidance and support for academic and personal challenges.
  • Simplify your search for accommodation with Bristol SU Lettings.

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Welcome Week

  • Bristol SU organizes a dynamic array of welcome activities for new students.
  • Daily Student Union events include quizzes, concerts, karaoke, and TED-style talks. The Welcome Fair, a significant week event, offers a chance to explore clubs and societies.
  • Official event details and tickets become available on A-Level Results Day, cautioning against early unofficial ticket purchases. Further information about Welcome Week is available on the Bristol SU website.

The Richmond Building

  • The Richmond Building serves as the vibrant centre of the Students' Union, offering spaces to unwind or study.
  • Facilities include theatres, a café-bar, creative studios, and a swimming pool, making it among the most prominent student union buildings nationally.
  • The Anson Rooms, a significant venue within the building, has seen performances by renowned artists like David Bowie and Radiohead, enhancing its cultural significance.

Getting help from available resources can make things easier for international students, helping them to connect with peers and build a solid support system.

Capitalize on school resources

Colleges and universities understand the challenges faced by international students and often organize events and resources tailored to meet their needs. Attending orientation programs, get-togethers, or other events specifically designed for international students is an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow individuals navigating similar situations.

Remember, these events are about finding friends and benefiting from the experiences of others who have already travelled the same path.

Platforms like dedicated Facebook groups and orientation programs can help new students acclimate to the changes and enjoy the college experience more fully.

Improve your visibility: Consider joining different clubs and organizations.

During your first semester on campus, actively seek out clubs and organizations that align with your interests and passions.

Connecting with student leaders and expressing your status as an international student increases your chances of finding others who share your classes or circumstances. Although immediate friendships may only sometimes form during the first few gatherings or meetings, consistently participating in these activities increases your visibility.

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The more people see you, the higher the likelihood of making connections and creating meaningful relationships.

Club involvement keeps you engaged and prevents isolation, allowing you to maximise your international university experience.

Connect with students who share your interests

Anne Hassle, who moved from Germany to Bristol this year, found an effective way to connect with others by joining the Voluntary Service.

Embracing shared interests facilitates meeting new people and offers a sense of familiarity and camaraderie.

Be human: break the ice

In today's world, where smartphones dominate our lives, it's important to acknowledge that traditional methods of making friends still hold value. Initiating a conversation by simply greeting and introducing oneself is a time-tested and effective way of starting a relationship.

Starting a conversation is a chance to exercise your interpersonal skills, and there's no need to worry about being judged.

Taking the initiative may surprise others and help you make more friends, as many students share anxiety about starting new classes.

Keep in mind that while technology provides comfort, it's real-life interactions that build meaningful connections.

Overcome loneliness by staying open and introducing yourself

Stress and anxiety often lead us to seek comfort in our digital worlds, turning to social media platforms for solace. However, keeping an open mind and embracing your new college environment is important. Introducing yourself to classmates, club leaders, and resident assistants during the first few weeks of class, when academic obligations are still relatively light, greatly increases your chances of building relationships. Leaving your door open creates a welcoming atmosphere, encouraging others to drop by. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer free counselling services and mentoring programs to support students in need.

Tackle Anxiety: Utilize effective coping mechanisms

To avoid anxiety from taking over your days and making feelings of isolation worse, it's crucial to manage stress actively. Instead of obsessing over anxious thoughts, engage in productive activities and take steps to ease those worries. Visiting your neighbour and introducing yourself can be a positive distraction and may help you build valuable connections.

Use the counselling services and mentoring programs available at your college or university.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential to establishing connections, and college provides a unique opportunity to form lifelong friendships.

Transitioning as an international student comes with challenges, particularly in creating new connections and overcoming feelings of loneliness.
However, following the strategies outlined in this article significantly increases your chances of building a fulfilling college experience.
Preparing before arrival, capitalizing on school resources, joining clubs, connecting with like-minded individuals, and being proactive in making new acquaintances are vital steps toward cultivating valuable relationships.
Embrace this transformative phase of your life and seize the opportunity to establish lifelong connections that will enrich your time in college and your future beyond.

Hello there! Here you will find STUDENT ACCOMMODATION IN BRISTOL.

Written by
Paloma A.
I love to write about themes that I am passionate about.