While it is natural to feel more comfortable with people who speak your language and understand your cultural background, come on you’ve surely not come all this way to only hang out with people from your own country? Making British friends is 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 British mates:
Make the first move
Try not to worry if you’re feeling homesick, many of the British students will be feeling like this too. In fact, it is the perfect topic to bond over. Ask questions and tell them what you are finding strange and difficult.
Master small talk
Start a conversation, even if it’s to ask for help or to comment on the weather! Small talk like this and asking questions such as “How are you finding university?” will lead onto other conversations and you’ll start making friends.
Offer to cook
If you can cook offer to cook for people who are sharing your accommodation or invite people over that are on your course. This is a great ‘ice breaker’ and best of all you’ll get invitations for dinner too where you’ll meet even more new people.
Host a party
A big part of university life in the UK is about socialising and hosting a party will make you instantly popular. Plan some party games to get people talking and mingling.
Go to parties
If you are invited to a party. Go! Ok it might be a bit daunting not knowing anyone or you might be worried about whether you will understand local accents but the best way to get over these kind of concerns is to get out there and start mingling.
Plan a day out
As an international student, you will have a list of places that you want to visit. Try arranging a trip with some of your British students, they will be able to take you places that only a local might know about. Or try planning a picnic – Brits love it!
Join a buddy scheme
Most universities will run a buddy scheme whereby they will team up a home student with an international student. This is a great way to build a friendship with a home student who will inevitably introduce you to more Brits!
Become a volunteer
Through your university, local and national charities and support groups, such as the St John Ambulance, you can become a volunteer to help the local community. This way you will be make friends, support your local community and learn more about the UK – Oh and it will look great on your CV.
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.
Sign up to HOST UK
There are a number of charities that help international students settle in and make the most of their time in the UK. One of these is HOST UK – a charity that organises for international students to spend time with a British family. Another one is Friends International – a charity that organises events and gatherings in more than 40 towns and cities.