When studying at ARU, you’ll be able to explore your passions and challenge yourself, and you will be guided by your tutors step by step through your journey. But what would the university experience be without friends and a bit (or a bit more) fun?
I’m Andreea, a 3rd year interior designer and Student Ambassador at ARU in Cambridge. Through this article, I want to share a few of my ways to meet new people and form strong connections with your newfound friends. Who knows? Some friendships you make at university, might even last for a lifetime!
1. The Welcome Buddy Scheme
A Welcome Buddy is a student assigned to connect and support new students starting their course on campus. So, when you will start your journey at ARU, you will be matched with a Welcome Buddy. This means that you will have the exciting opportunity to have a campus tour led by them and meet other new students that have been assigned to your Welcome Buddy! For more information on how The Welcome Buddy Scheme works, access this link: aru.ac.uk/student-life/preparing-for-university/welcome/getting-aru-ready/welcome-buddy
I should add that, starting from your 2nd year, you will get the chance to become a Welcome Buddy yourself, just like I am one now! So, I look forward to welcoming you on campus!
2. Welcome Week
During Welcome Week (which starts a week prior to your course start date) you will get to warm up to the campus and take part in exciting activities and events created for new students by our Students' Union such as movie nights, arts & crafts sessions, cookie & cake decorating and many other hands-on activities. Have look on our Students' Union website to find your ‘cup of tea’: angliastudent.com/freshers/.
Welcome Week is also known for the Freshers' Fair! A place where all societies, courses and some local businesses join hands to welcome you to campus with exciting contests and of course, freebies! Who could say no to that?
3. Don’t miss your first day of university!
Besides the Welcome Buddy and Welcome Week, I would say that your first day at uni is the most important! I still remember my first day of lectures was the day I met one of my best friends. That day is where you will also get to make new friends, meet your colleagues with whom you’ll have the opportunity to study together for the next few years and finally, get to know all your tutors and how they will be able to offer you their support on your journey at ARU!
4. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself!
I mentioned above that my first day on campus was when I met one of my best friends. Well…I didn’t tell you yet the funny way we got to know each other. Long story short, I remember that I was just wandering around the university’s courtyard when, I thought I heard something similar to my native language: Romanian. As an international student, with only a few other Romanian friends, I decided to just not be afraid to introduce myself…in Romanian! Well, that was when I found out that Portuguese is actually very similar to Romanian. After passing that awkward encounter, I met my Portuguese friend later on in our first class together. It turned out that we were studying the same course, interior design, and since that day, we sat next to each other on every lecture!
Moral of the story is: try to always be yourself and you will surely attract similar people to your side, making lifelong bonds in the process!
5. Become a Student Ambassador or Volunteer
One thing I’ve learned on my three years at ARU is to always get involved in activities that speak out to you and work for opportunities you’re most passionate about! One way to do that at ARU is to become a Student Ambassador, where you get to work alongside your peers and tutors to welcome new students to campus, write articles for the university’s blog and share your course experience with the world.
Another fun way to connect with the community around you is by volunteering at ARU. These opportunities can range from animal shelter volunteering to health and wellbeing volunteer roles and so many others that you might find a great interest in. Just have a look on the volunteering page at the SU’s website.
I hope my tips make your transition to university much smoother and as a final note, I would encourage you to always try to find new ways of making connections and friends, especially at university. In my journey, I found that friends will make studying much more fun and you will always have something to learn from the people around you. So, don’t be afraid to make the first move, it’s so worth it in the end!