How to make friends at university: 8 great tips

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.

1. Move into a dormitory or a student flat share

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? 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.

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!

2. Attend 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. Establish learning groups

Of course, it depends on which type of learner you are, but mastering the course content is after all the top priority. If you understand the university scripts better when they are being discussed in a group, then you can network well with your fellow students. They can help you with exam preparation and you can help them. Because the big advantage of learning in groups is that everyone has different strengths and you can learn from each other. In the best case scenario, this results in a shared sense of achievement – passing the exam, which can then be celebrated appropriately.

4. Be 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. Is there a soccer team or a swimming club? Often the only thing missing is the right sparring partner to try out new sports courses or to stay motivated. Find out more in social media groups, where people are always looking for “sports friends” to do sports together.

But if sport is not your thing, then why not visit other leisure activities at the university, such as language courses, music courses or art courses. In any case, the people you meet have the same interests as you, and if that’s not a good start to a new friendship, what is?

5. Work on the side (voluntarily)

Volunteering is always a good thing to do, if your resources allow it. This way you get to know other social and helpful people with whom you can work together for a good cause. In addition, internships or minor student jobs in “making friends” and “building professional networks” make a lot of sense. Here it is advisable to work in areas in which you have a lot of contact with other people, for example with NGOs, in gastronomy and sales or giving tutoring.

6. Use social media for socializing

After all, that’s exactly what social media is for – to share interests with other people, to get in touch with them and to make new friends. It has never been so easy to take the famous first step. Send the friend request, write the person a message, comment on a post – go ahead! There are tons of groups you can join in on, where you can quickly and easily find like-minded people.

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

7. Be a language tandem partner

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.

8. Last but not least: 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.


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