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Seven ways to make friends at university

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University is often considered the time of your life – the place you make memories that will last forever. Those memories will be all the more special if you’ve made them with new-found friends for life, so sharing your uni experience with others and meeting new people should be pretty high on your to-do list when you arrive.

We want to share with you seven ways to make friends, meet like-minded individuals and get the most out of your university experience. 

Students laughing in coffee shop

1. Get to know your neighbours

We highly recommend living in university accommodation. Living with strangers might seem a bit intimidating, but it's the best way to meet new people and get the full university experience. Each of your flatmates is in exactly the same position, so you’ll be able to help each other settle in, and you won’t have to work your way into existing social circles – you can be a part of creating them. Need some motivation to get that essay done? Can’t remember where that lecture hall is? Just fancy a night out? Living with other students means you’re around others who understand your situation, which means you’ve got people around you who can support you, whether that’s with your uni work or down the stairs of a nightclub at 3am.

If you are living at home or in private accommodation then don't worry, there are plenty of other ways you can make friends, just keep scrolling.

2. Join a club or society

What better way to meet like-minded people than to join a club or society related to one of your hobbies or interests? You’re guaranteed to have at least one thing in common with everyone there! Or, expand your horizons by picking something you want to learn more about. Meeting regularly with your society/club members and bonding over something you care about is a great way to make friends. Here at Sunderland, we have over 50 clubs and societies, from drawing to debating, law to LGBTQI+, so there’s something for everyone!

Playing sport is also a brilliant way to keep fit, be social and make great connections. The University of Sunderland has over 30 clubs and 50 teams to choose from, as well as first-class sports facilities. Being part of a team or club is a great way to feel a sense of belonging and community and is also great for your physical and mental heath! Team Sunderland are our friendly support service who will ensure you get the most out of your sporting experience at the University.

Can’t find anything that suits your weird and wonderful ways? Start your own!

3. Be bold!

You don’t need to be a party animal or a socialite, squeezing in lectures between your hectic social schedule, but organising the odd day out, or even night in, can be a great way to make friends. If you aren’t the organising type, try to say yes more often if someone invites you to something – even if it’s not normally your kind of thing. It doesn’t have to be a grand event; get a coffee with your coursemates or make fajitas with your flatmates – spending time with people is the best way to get to know each other. Be spontaneous and open-minded, and remember that sometimes the smallest gestures can mean a lot and bring people together.

4. Be sociable – online and off

You don’t have to wait until you arrive at university to start making friends. Social media is a great way to break the ice and get a head start on building relationships. Often, you will find that there will be existing groups on Facebook for your specific halls, course and the University in general. Chatting online might give you that confidence boost you need when you do finally meet and you can exchange ideas on what to bring with you and your first social events.

Can’t find anyone on your course or in your flat? Try and be as helpful as you can to those who have questions, you might help someone who recognises you when you start uni, which can be a great conversation starter.

5. Make the most of Freshers Week

Freshers' week is the perfect opportunity to try out new things, meet new people and generally get to know what's going at the university. Everyone will be looking to make friends, have fun and grab lots of freebies. Make sure you try and attend as many events as possible, like Freshers' fair, society events and the nightlife (if you enjoy that type of thing). Freshers' week is always a highlight of many students' experience, so make sure to get involved and embrace it.

6. Get to know your coursemates 

Making friends with people on your course is very useful for sharing ideas and helping each other with any assignments. Lectures and seminars are a great way to get to know people. Challenge yourself to sit next to someone new and introduce yourself, see how they’re getting on with the course. You may have a lot more in common than you think and it’s always nice to be able to sit next to someone you know.

7. Explore the local area

Sunderland is a brilliant city and has something to offer for everyone. The North East of England is well known for being a fun and friendly place to live, so make sure to make the most of it! You can find lots of outdoor spaces to explore, the vibrant city, beautiful coastline and the countryside just on the doorstep. Be sure to get out, be social and make the most of living in Sunderland.


Published: 17 April 2023