The start of the academic year is always a time of change: new lecturers, new surroundings and new classmates. You’ll be excited to begin this period of your life, which many think of as the best years of their lives, but that doesn’t change the fact that not knowing anyone at the beginning can be intimidating. If that’s the way you feel, don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal. But having to deal with this is also an important learning opportunity: you’re training your ability to deal with change. So, because we like you already :-), we’ve got some tips for you to help you get the most out of your new life.
1.Move out of your comfort zone
Listening to music and chatting on WhatsApp with your friends or family back home – this is your comfort zone when you’re in a new place and far away from familiar surroundings. But take out your earphones, listen and look around: you are just one of 2000 new students from more than 70 countries. You’re far from being alone in your situation. Everyone is in a new environment and wants to make new friends. Take advantage of that fact, smile and look for opportunities to speak to new people.
“YOU ARE JUST ONE OF 2000 NEW STUDENTS FROM 70 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, SO REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE FAR FROM BEING ALONEIN YOUR SITUATION.”
2. Try something new: there are some fantastic opportunities out there
If you think it’s too awkward to just strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know or you’re not sure what to talk about anyway, then why not take part in the activities the University organizes? They’re fantastic opportunities to meet other students and do something together. During the Welcome Days, many new students took part in the Speed Friending event: an activity in which you have a minute to meet and get to know different students by asking questions written on a small card.
THE KEY TO BEING INTERESTING IS TO SHOW INTEREST IN OTHER PEOPLE.
3. Find people like you
One of the good things about being at university is that you have many opportunities to try new activities or to reconnect with interests that had fallen by the wayside. The student clubs are places where students can enjoy these interests and activities together. Finding that you have something in common with other people is one of the best ways of forming stronger bonds. The image below shows all the clubs and activities that exist at the moment, but if there’s nothing that quite fits with your interest, that’s not a problem: try setting up your own club by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or by organizing an activity on the Campus Life platform on the intranet. The point is to get involved in something you’re interested in.
Do you like sport? Pop into the Sports Service and find out about all the sports you can doand, at the same time, meet students from other study programmes and years. For any information you need, you can contact the Sports Service directly at email@example.com
4. Spend the day with other students
“Happiness is only real when shared”: this idea – written in a book by the protagonist of the film Into the Wild– has a lot of truth to it. Interacting with other people is vital to your wellbeing, so even if you don’t know many people yet, this is no reason to choose solitude. Campus Life organizes a range of activities where you can meet and interact with other students. During the Welcome Week, many of you will have taken part in the Tapas Tour around Valencia (see the photo above), for example, or the barbeque for the first meeting of the participants in the Student Mentoring Programme (see the photo below). Information about these activities are published in the Campus life area of the intranet.
As well as the activities organized directly by Campus Life, activities on the Campus Life platform can also be created by and for students. So, for example, if you look at the in the “En tu ciudad” section, you might see some information about a live concert in a bar in the Carmen area of the city centre. If you fancy going to it with other students, you can be the one to arrange it, by clicking on the“organiza tú el plan” (“organize a get-together”) button. It’s a very easy way to meet other students from your campus who are interested in the same things you are. You can read more about this here.
MAYBE YOU’LL MEET OTHER PEOPLE NOT JUST TO SPEND TIME WITH, BUT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME WITH.
If you’re new to Valencia, we think you’ll like the “Guía de la ciudad” (“City guide”) section on the Campus Life platform, which tells you all about the best places to see and spend time in in your new city.
5. Study on campus
It’s always a good idea to come out of your room for a bit and interact with other people, whether they are your flatmates or other students at the University. The Library is open from Monday to Friday, from 7.45 am to 9.15 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm, and there is 24-hour opening during exam periods. There are many study spaces available for anyone to use and also rooms for group work. You have to be careful to remain quiet within the Library, but you can also talk to the many students standing near the entrance taking a break from studying.
6. Enjoy the cultural diversity os the University
Apart from the activities organized by Campus Life where you can meet people of various nationalities, you can also attend events in The HUB 101 – located in room 101 of the Luis Campos Górriz Building. This space is open to all students and it’s where the Languages Service organizes intercultural activities to foster language learning in a fun, informal way. The Facebook group contains all the information about the latest events – just like the page to track of what’s going on.
7. Get involved in volunteering projects
Would you like to volunteer for a project which aims to help people less fortunatethan you? Taking part in local projects or international missions is also a fantastic way to meet other students like you, who want to devote some of their time to other people. If this interests you, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to get information about all the programmes you can take part in, which may depend on which year you are in. Here’s a video on improving the social inclusion of the elderly: this example is an opportunity meet elderly people, but it’s a chance to meet also other like-minded students who see this as a way of achieving personal growth.
Now that you’ve read all these tips, it’s now up to you get out there and experience the world. If you’d like to tell others about your experience, leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.
See you soon, amigos!