There are plenty of international societies to join at York. The Nordic Society is just one of many societies that welcomes students who find the culture of specific countries or regions interesting, as well as students who come from those places. Here are some of my experiences with joining Nordic Society as an international student!
Homesickness or sick of home?
Honestly, I joined the Nordic Society in my first year because I felt like I had to. I told myself that I hadn’t left Denmark just to go to the UK and surround myself with even more Scandinavians. But much to my own surprise, I quite quickly came to miss those Scandinavians. I missed people who would understand my references and had experienced the same culture shocks as me. Also, I found people who were also confused about how British people don’t keep their eggs refrigerated and where you can buy rye bread. Fortunately, now I know that the campus supermarket sometimes has German ‘schwarzbrot’ which is as close as I have gotten!
Joining a society with Nordic people doesn’t mean that you will only spend time with people from the same background. In fact, you are only expanding your circle. Being part of a society can give you some well-needed breaks from studying, such as going to a campfire!
From member to committee
I am now in my 3rd year and I’m on the committee as one of two Social Secretaries for Nordic Society. The society started really small and nearly disappeared as Covid hit. But now it’s the most successful that I have seen it be during my 3 years.
During Autumn term, we made a campfire for Halloween, went on a Jorvik Viking Centre trip and had a Christmas decoration making social. Seeing people make friends as term evolved and learning more about the other Nordic cultures from other members has been the highlight of my time as a Social Secretary so far.
Although committee work can be a bit confusing and stressful at times, it is a great way to meet people. You also have an impact on something that you care about. The activities and socials that societies arrange are very much up to what their members want to do. So, whether you’re on the committee or not, your voice is important when you’re part of a society!
Not just for international students
As an international student, Nordic Society has been a lovely way for me to get to meet other people from the Nordic countries. Yet, it has also introduced me to many students who are members simply because they are interested in Nordic culture or Nordic languages.
At first, it baffled me a bit that people found the place I come from interesting. But their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more has only made me appreciate my Nordic origins and the society more. Nordic Society has become a bit of home for me and hopefully many other students too. It’s also a place where students can explore other cultures and learn from each other.