Making friends in Liverpool

Posted on: 25 May 2018 by Brett Henderson in 2017/18

Brett Henderson

Hey everyone! My name is Brett Henderson and I’m on exchange from Canada for the semester. I have officially been studying at the University of Liverpool for a month now and I can’t even explain what an incredible experience it has been so far. I have travelled to several amazing countries with some incredible people from all over the world.

One of my biggest worries when coming on exchange was not making friends or finding the right people to travel with, but let me tell you… that is the least of my worries now. After only a month, I know I have made friends that will last a lifetime.

I understand how nerve wracking it can be moving to a new country when you don’t know a single soul. So, I thought I’d write down what helped the most with meeting people and making friends when starting my semester abroad.

  1. Remember that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is nervous to start at a new school in a new city/country/continent. Everyone is looking to make friends and travel as much as possible. When you keep all this in mind, it helps with the nerves and makes it a bit easier to approach someone and introduce yourself.
  2. Hang out in the kitchen or lounge in your flat whenever you have time for the first couple days. Instead of sitting alone in your room, this will allow you to meet and get to know your flatmates. You’ll be living with them all semester so its not a bad idea to make friends with them early and see if they are interested in exploring the city or campus with you.
  3. Go to all the events that you can (even if they are a little out of your comfort zone). Some of these events are set up by the Study Abroad Team, while others are for students living in university accommodation. The event may take you on a tour around campus, to a cool area of town you may not have found on your own, or even to a different city. Regardless of the event or who the organizer is, it’s a great way to meet people who are in the same position as you. Plus, its often through the university so its at a discounted rate - and c’mon, as students travelling, nothing is as intriguing as a discount.
  4. Join a society/club. I can’t stress how important this one is if you want to meet local students. Clubs and societies are the best way to meet people who have similar interests to you and it’s a guaranteed way to meet new people because meetings/events are literally scheduled for you. Whether its a volunteering society, a tea drinking club, an academic or sports society, I can promise you that there will be at least one thing that catches your eye. It throws you in with the local students and allows you to meet people with similar interests - other than just international students.
  5. Don’t be afraid to say hi, ask directions or invite someone for coffee. During the first few days I was on exchange, this was incredibly difficult for me to do. But as time passed, it became easier and easier to approach someone. Even something as simple as asking someone sitting next to you if you’re sitting in the right lecture is enough to start a conversation and make a friend.

These tips may seem like common sense to some people, or too difficult or outgoing for others. But these all genuinely made it easier to me to meet people and make friends when on exchange. As cliché as this sounds, an exchange is the experience of a lifetime and as great as it is on your own, its even better when you can experience it with some amazing people.

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