New in the city: This is how you settle in quickly

written by: Christina Pichler, 23.09.2021

Your suitcase is packed up, the farewell party was a huge success and your parents wave at you as you are leaving home to start a new chapter. As exciting as this step is, it can also be very intimidating. How can I make friends in a new city? Will I even find my way around? How should I fill my time and what should I cook tomorrow? These and many other questions are probably buzzing around in your head. But don’t worry, we will tell you how you can settle in and feel good very quickly.

Discover the city as a tourist

If you are new to the city, this is the perfect opportunity to check out all the sights. This is great for orientation and a fun activity that you can do by yourself or even with fellow students and new roommates! In a big city, for example, you can simply hop on a Big Bus, book a free walking tour or simply put together the perfect route for yourself and explore the new city.

Take a walk

You ask yourself: “What should I do in a new city?”. How about taking the public transport without a destination in mind, just walking around and exploring the city? Take a little time out of your day, maybe listen to your favorite podcast and let the fear of getting lost at home. You might just discover cool new “Grätzl” and thanks to navigation apps you will always find your way home! Or you can simply ask someone for directions, this is another way how you can get to know the city, the country and the people as well.

Attend events for first semester students

At every university there are many events at the start of the semester where you can get to know the university campus and other students! Regardless of whether it is an introductory week, an event or one of the legendary “Welcome Back Spritzer Stände” at the university. There is always something going on on campus and making new contacts is almost inevitable!

Make friends and meet new people

Get out of your comfort zone and talk to new people, most of them will be happy about it because they are probably also new in town and looking for new acquaintances. Incidentally, pretending to be someone you are not makes no sense when it comes to making friends! Stay authentic and you will attract the right people. Here are tips for making friends at university!

Student dormitory and campus life

If you live in a dormitory, you’ve already found the perfect platform to make new friends! In a student accommodation, young people from Austria and many international students come together and they all have one thing in common: They are new to the city and ready to make new friends! Attend numerous events, especially in the beginning!

Be the host

Is there nothing going on in your new city? Then take the initiative and start a party, dinner event or movie night yourself! For larger projects, you can use a common room in your student dormitory! Introducing cooking evenings as a weekly event is especially cool if you live in a shared apartment, because you will always have an evening together where you can exchange ideas, relax together and just enjoy student life.

Swipe for friends

Talking to someone in “real life” is not very comfortable for you? How about a “dating” app for friends? On Bumble BFF (Bumble BFF for Apple I Bumble BFF for Android) you can swipe through potential friends, on Meetup (MeetUp for Apple I Meetup for Android) you can participate in planned meetings, hikes and other events and thus approach people who have similar interests like you.

Volunteering: ÖH Austria

The Austrian Students’ Union (ÖH) is the legal representation of students towards rectors, teachers and the ministry. You can volunteer in many different positions. In the department for education, in the department for international activities or in the department for press and public relations for example. You will get to know the university from a completely new perspective, can get involved in better studies and work side by side with cool people! You don’t want to fill your free time with university topics? Then ask friends or the city where else you can get involved!

Take a sports class

Are you an avid boxer, do you like to end the day with a round of yoga or do you want to play Quidditch with other Harry Potter fans? Then the USI sports courses are just right for you! The University Sports Institute Vienna, for example, offers over 160 different sports and around 1200 courses per semester, giving you plenty of opportunities to take a class and get to know new people. By the way, a sports course is also a great way to counterbalance the stressful everyday university life. Here are our recommendations for sports classes!

Find a (part-time) job

Many students need a job in order to be able to finance their studies; others just want to gain their first professional experiences. No matter why you decide to work, a job in an interesting company can offer you a lot of experience and bring you into contact with people who have the same interests and goals as you. Sounds good? Here you will find the best tips to apply for a student job so that you are guaranteed to get your dream job. We also have created a list of popular and lucrative jobs for students!

Attend networking events

Do you already have a job, are you self-employed or do you just want to gain a foothold in a certain area? Then go to Network Events! In large cities in particular, you have endless opportunities to connect through network events. Be it at a get-together for your degree program, co-working events or after-work drinks! By the way, nowadays networking also works online. Here are our tips for using networking apps efficiently!

A new start is not always easy, but we hope that with our tips it will be easier for you to acclimatize yourself in your new environment and to make new friends. In order for you to not only have a good start to your new phase of life, but are also optimally prepared for the new semester, we have collected the best tips on how to start your university life for you!


We are happy to help!