Freshers’ Week: an international student’s perspective

Some of our students explain what Freshers’ Week is really like at university in the UK, from the perspective of an international student.

Mi Chelle, 1st Year English student, Malaysia

Mi Chelle, 1st Year English student, Malaysia

An event for everyone: Colleges will put on events for freshers, from club nights to quizzes to movie nights. You’ll be meeting a lot of new people in a span of a week and if you’re living on campus you’ll have STYCs (Second and Third Year Contacts) to take care of you throughout the week and to make sure you’re settling in alright. Don’t worry about attending all the events. If you’re not comfortable with taking part in a bar crawl or a club night, it’s completely fine to not go and go to the alternative events like bingo instead.

There will be an event for everyone so don’t pressure yourself to attend everything that’s being held. Also, don’t worry if you’ve not clicked with anyone or if you’ve not made any close friends during Freshers’ Week, you’ll inevitably meet people on your course or through societies that you’ll be comfortable being with.

Yara, 3rd Year Law student, Jordan

Yara, 3rd Year Law student, Jordan

Drinking and non-drinking events: During Freshers’ Week the different colleges put on various events for first years. These events are either drinking or non-drinking events because the colleges try to accommodate for as many people as possible! Something that I did not expect was how open and friendly everyone was! Everyone is trying to make new friends, so it’s a great atmosphere to be in because you can strike up conversations with literally anyone and it would be completely normal!

People have the choice not to attend events which are put in place for people’s enjoyment. If people don’t feel like they would enjoy a certain event, there are always alternatives.

Yuqiao, 3rd Year Politics with International Relations student, China

Yuqiao, 3rd Year Politics with International Relations student, China

Colleges: Freshers’ week is the biggest on-campus event every year. Put on by different colleges to welcome freshers. It is a whole week of socialising, meeting people, having fun, enjoying games and getting to know your housemates better. York is a college based campus which means each college has their own freshers’ week events. You will be accompanied by a STYC (a second or third year student from your college). They will show you around campus and the city, explain to you about college life and events. And they will be there for you if you have any concerns or questions.

Don’t worry and have fun: Freshers’ week have both drinking and non-drinking events, so you won’t feel left out if you prefer a non-alcoholic lifestyle. It could seem a bit intimidating when you first arrive and meet hundreds of new people. Don’t worry, everyone feels the same and you will mingle your way out. Just enjoy the first week of uni and make it the most memoried one. It’s a fun experience to have and just throw yourself out there to have fun before the class begins.

Saranporn, MA Applied Linguistics in English Language Teaching, Thailand

Saranporn, MA Applied Linguistics in English Language Teaching, Thailand

Make new friends: There are lots of events in Freshers’ week and you can choose the ones you are interested in. There are events that help you with social life, getting to know the city and many other things. It is also a good time to make new friends.

International students welcome: When I arrived, I joined a welcome party for international students. There were lots of people helping me prepare myself before the term starts. The support was very helpful.

City tour: I also joined an event which the staff gave. A city tour which introduced some historical background about the city.

Dilys, LLM International Corporate and Commercial Law, Ghana

Dilys, LLM International Corporate and Commercial Law, Ghana

University of York Students’ Union: Whoosh! Fresher’s week! One tip, visit the YUSU (University of York Students’ Union) site on Instagram. My most favourite social platform. One word describes it – AHH-mazing.

Diverse cultural backgrounds: Be prepared to meet new people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Get involved in the fun activities the University has lined up.

Societies: University societies ready to invite new members. You can get many university freebies from different societies.

Maria, MA Post War Recovery Studies, Colombia

Maria, MA Post War Recovery Studies, Colombia

Positive attitude: The University (and your college) will organize hundreds of events to give new students the possibility to get to know the University and make many new friends. Maybe you are a very social person and you are ready for it or maybe you are a bit more shy and you are a little scared to talk to new people in an environment where you don’t know anyone. In any case, my advice is the same, have the best attitude! This is your opportunity to create a fantastic good impression!

Talk to everyone: In my case, I went to the events with my housemates. We were a group of 9, so all of we felt really good and in a comfort zone. This meant that many of my housemates didn’t want to talk with other people (Why would they? There was already 9 people in the group). But my recommendation is talk to everyone! It is good to have more friends than people from your house. Fresher’s week is a very good place to start! However, if you find that week a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, there are going to be thousands of opportunities for meeting new people! Finally, remember that everyone is in the same situation as you. They are all in a new environment meeting new people.

Srish, 3rd Year English student, India

Srish, 3rd Year English student, India

It’s okay to miss events: Freshers week is a great chance at getting to know your flatmates, college and the city at large. You WILL be tired, you WILL want to miss out on events and that’s okay. But try and get involved in as much as you can because it is one of the most fun weeks at uni and you might as well make the best of it!

Put yourself out there: It’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t make the best of friends in Freshers Week. Everyone’s experience is different and this is only the start. You’ll meet loads of new people throughout the first term, and throughout your time at uni as well! What’s important is to make sure that you put yourself out there, meet loads of new people and have a fun time participating in all the fantastic events the college team has planned for you.

Gracia, PhD Politics, Indonesia

Gracia, PhD Politics, Indonesia

Postgraduate welcome week: The postgraduate students have an interesting welcome week, run by the Graduate Students’ Association. All the sessions are useful to learn more about the city of York. They give useful information about the city centre like restaurants and other entertainment spots. As well as advice on top things to buy once we arrive in York, student’s well-being and security information.

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International student bloggers

Hi, we're all international students studying here at York. In our own words, we'll give you an authentic insight into what life as a York student is really like.