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How to make British friends

Margaret Stevens

A GB Mag guide to making British friends, because surely you didn’t come all the way to the UK to meet people from your own country?

How to make British friends

WHILE it’s natural to feel more comfortable with people who speak your language and understand your cultural background, you’ve come a long way to only hang out with people from your own country.

Making British friends may be easier than you think, and you’re almost certain to get more out of your time in the UK if you buddy up with some Brits.

Here are some ideas on how to make some mates:

Offer friendship
Try not to worry if you’re feeling a bit lost and homesick, many of the British students will be feeling like this too. Don’t be afraid to offer friendship, it can help make both of you feel at ease.

Get talking
Start a conversation with someone, even if it’s to ask for help. Most people in the UK are happy to help – they will give you directions, explain how something works, even tell you what the lecturer was saying.

Join a club or society
Join something. You will see posters and information about Student Union clubs and societies – they are for all students. Becoming a member of a club can be a great way to develop a skill, or gain a new one, and you will meet people who share your interests. If you like singing, join a choir. Stay fit by joining a sports club. If you’re into movies, the film society is probably for you. The possibilities are endless.

Travel
There is a lot more to Britain than you will see on the journey between your accommodation and the classroom. So long as you are sensible, travel is safe here, even for a girl on her own. If you stay in hostels like those run by the Youth Hostel Association you will meet friendly people more easily than you would in a hotel.

Try a homestay with HOST
If you ever wonder what British people’s lives are really like, and if you want to understand how they think, and to experience their culture for yourself, there is a very good and completely safe way to do that. Your university may have a hospitality programme for international students to meet local people.

You can also find out about HOST. HOST links international students with carefully chosen British residents. You can spend a day, a weekend, or Christmas, as the guest of a friendly welcoming host, who will make you feel at home, answer your questions, share home-cooked meals with you, and show you the area where they live.

HOST visits are free and there are hosts everywhere in the UK, so you decide how much to pay for your travel. There is an application fee, but your university may pay that for you.

So, if you want to make British friends, first take a step out of your comfort zone: offer your friendship to others, take time out from your studies and use a hospitality programme like HOST to meet Brits in their own homes.

 

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