A guide to freshers for foreign students

“What is freshers week?”

Just a few weeks ago, I read this Facebook post as a cry for help written by an international student. While for British students freshers is something they look forward to as soon as those acceptance letters slide into their mailboxes, foreign students might be left quite confused in front of this deluge of information suddenly flooding their Facebook. In countries such as France, freshers week does not exist- we go to a welcome talk, get handed our timetables, and then go to class. This is why in this post, I wish to talk about culture shock.

Arriving at uni can be quite a nerve-wracking experience for a UK student, stuffed in his/her parents’ car among the boxes filled with comforting knick-knacks brought from home. But for an international student who is just stepping off a plane (or two), it’s even more so: finding his or herself surrounded by people who do not speak the same language, having to deal with a different weather etc. And the shocks do not stop here, re: freshers.

This is your guide on what to expect when you’re fresher-ing. While the sight of your fb notifications multiplying might be daunting, what you need to know first and foremost is that freshers week is loads of fun and all around just brilliant. It is certainly a fun way to let off some steam before the start of classes, and it makes the process of meeting new people much easier. Of course, it is not just about booze and parties. Going through freshers without ever entering a nightclub or drinking some alcohol is entirely fine, and day events are numerous! Aside from forming friendships, this week free of classes is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the campus and explore the city. You have just moved in a new city in a new country, and it is important that you should feel at home and keep the homesickness at bay. Getting to know York, its streets, coffee shops and clubs, will make this faster.  Find out what York has to offer! One last piece of advice: watch out for the mythical freshers’ flu- not a myth… Make sure to wear a jacket on those nights out and stock up on the cough pills.

Overall, expect free pizza, little sleep, and great memories!

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Hi! I study Linguistics and English here at York as an Erasmus student from France. I love reading, History, and eating chocolate cookies.