How to make friends at university: 8 tips for first-year students

written by: Hannes Wagner, 21.10.2021

New studies, new university, new city and new friends. Establishing friendships between hundreds of students and changing courses can be really difficult.

With these eight tips, we will tell you how you can get to know new people as a freshman during your studies or even in your free time easily.

If you moved to a new city, we have some tips for discovering the new city and settling in!

1. Student accommodations and shared flats

When you decide to start studying, you often also decide to move to a new city. The question arises: dormitory, student flat-share or your own apartment? Here is an article with all the important pros and cons!

When it comes to finding like-minded people with whom you can go through thick and thin and enjoy the beautiful as well as the difficult sides of student life, the first step is to move into a dormitory or a student flat share. Here are the most important differences and advantages!

Cooking together, going out to dinner, attending student parties or spending TV and game nights together – all of this creates a bond. Even the “unpleasant” aspects of student life, such as tight deadlines or cleaning the kitchen, can be better endured together. Leave your dormroom door open when you are there, because this often results in good, spontaneous conversation. In addition, there is always something going on in a student accommodation. Stop by your neighbors or in the common rooms and have a few drinks with the other residents! Here’s what the community feeling is like at STUWO!

2. introductory events

The good thing about introductory events is that everyone is new to university. Finding something to talk about is relatively easy here, because everyone has the same goal: To find answers to the questions that arise at the beginning of the course – Where can I find something on campus? What do I need for a successful start to the semester? Such welcome events offer the ideal opportunity to exchange ideas with other freshmen about the upcoming everyday routines and to eliminate the first organizational uncertainties. You will quickly notice that you are not alone and that everyone else is at least as excited as you are.

You just have to gather the courage to approach people and ask questions – maybe you will run into each other again later or exchange contacts straight away in order to meet again!

3. Study groups

Studying is obviously a big part of your life as a student and all students have to study. That’s why this is a good point to look for new friends. Look for a study group that fits your style of learning. Studying together is more fun and you will stay motivated. You can prepare for your exams and celebrate your accomplishments!

4. active and open to new ideas

By this we don’t just mean staying active when it comes to your studies, but also staying physically active. Sport offers a good balance to your studies and clears your mind for new knowledge. Find out about the range of sports offered at your university, for example at the university sports institute! Here are some fun classes for students!

Plan your free time as well! What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time? Find students that share your interests or join clubs or organisations nearby.

5. Mini jobs or volunteering

You can easily make friends at university or at work. Maybe you can get a mini job for the weekends or in the evenings. But make sure that your job and your studies can coexist. Here are popular mini jobs and tips for job interviews!

If you can afford it, volunteering is also a great addition to your daily routine. You can make a difference and meet new positive people. At university, the Austrian Student Representation (ÖH) or the Study Representation are good first contacts for unpaid internships or volunteer work. Other options are for example, ambulances, voluntary firefighters, animal shelters, organisations for homeless people, Caritas, etc.


6. social media and career networks

Social media platforms are ideal for connecting with new people. Follow the university, the ÖH or Study Representation online. You can also join facebook groups for your field of study.

Nowadays, there are also apps that make it easier to find friends. Similar to dating apps, but for people looking to make new friends.

Career networks are also good platforms for meeting fellow students or future colleagues. Here are tips for using these platforms efficiently!

7. language tandem

If you want to expand your circle of friends internationally, you should become a tandem partner for exchange students. The best way to learn a foreign language is to hear and speak it and to spend as much time as possible with a native speaker. How about a guided tour through the city or an evening in your favorite pub? Win-win for both – a new language and a new friend from another country. If you would like to connect to people from all over the world, we recommend joining ESN or Erasmus partnering programmes!

8. Be yourself!

Anyway, it doesn’t help you or your counterpart if you pretend to be someone you are not. Stay true to yourself and just be authentic, then the right people will come all by themselves. Getting to know new people is always exciting, regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Of course, it is easier for sociable people to make new friends during their studies, but it is also perfectly okay if you are more cautious and allow yourself to be found by others. Everyone is different, the most important thing is that you give yourself time and maybe leave your comfort zone every now and then. Always remember: you don’t have to make friends for life and know everyone after the first day, give yourself some time!

Arrange your new social environment in such a way that you feel comfortable – and you have enough time for that, because you will meet many different and interesting people over the course of your studies.


We are happy to help!