Group of international students laughing in park

Making friends at uni

Discover the many ways you can meet and get to know new friends inside and outside university

Meeting new people and making friends is a big part of your time here in Portsmouth, not only during your first few weeks, but after as well. It can be a daunting task, but it needn’t be.

You may feel very happy with your group of friends now. And that’s great. But if you do feel you’d like to meet more people, there are plenty of ways to do it.

Whatever you're studying, you'll meet people with different interests and hobbies who might be your future friends. You could meet them through your friends at home, on your course, through interest groups, in your hall of residence, in your private accommodation, or in the local community. Take a look at these various ways to meet people.

Through mutual friends

Meeting a friend of a friend can be a great way to start your friendship group at uni. Ask your friends from home if they know anyone in Portsmouth who you might get on with. You could also post on social media asking if anyone knows someone studying or living in the city.

On your course

You're at uni to get a degree, but classes are also a great way to meet new people and make friends. You’re studying the same subject, so you have that in common as a starting point.

If you don’t feel that you know everyone on your course yet, ask if you can sit next to someone new instead of sitting alone during lectures. If you keep seeing the same face at lectures, ask them if they want to grab a coffee after class instead of heading straight home. Or see if anyone wants to set up a library study group so you can bounce ideas off each other, rather than studying on your own.

When you get to your seminars, sit at group tables with other students. The time before the lecturer arrives is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and learn new names.

In a society or sports team

When you started university, you automatically became a member of the Students' Union. See if there are any societies or sports teams that interest you, where you could meet like-minded people. You can talk to representatives of the societies and teams at Freshers’ Fair, or find out more on the Students' Union website. Sign up for something you're interested in even if you have little experience – most groups welcome beginners.

If you want to play competitive sport, join an official sports club that takes part in competitions, and make friends with others on the team.

Being part of a society is always fun and a great way to make friends. I was part of the Arts and Crafts Society, where we met once a week and did different crafts, talked and relaxed. I also took part in the student associate scheme where I volunteered in a primary school twice a week for a while.

Lyncia Mande, BA (Hons) English Language & Linguistics

Through the Global Office social events

Our Global Office runs regular social events, which are open to all our students. These are educational and fun ways to make new friends. Events include cultural events, excursions to places of interest and theatre visits.

‘UoP Students’ Facebook group

Join the Facebook group to connect with over 2,700 current students, stay up to date with things going on at the University and post your own social events.

The Wellbeing Cafe

The Wellbeing Cafe is a weekly get-together run by the Student Wellbeing Service and hosted in Cafe Coco by the Students' Union. Drop in on a Wednesday afternoon to hang out, talk, play board games and enjoy free tea and coffee.

Visit the Wellbeing Cafe’s Facebook Events page

Where you're living

Your accommodation is one of the first places you'll meet new people. Our halls of residence are very sociable places. If you're in private accommodation, your housemates will probably want to chat and get to know you.

When you're in your room, leave your door open so you can say hello to housemates as they walk past. It's more welcoming than keeping it closed and housemates are more likely to say hi through an open door than knock on a closed one.

Find opportunities to talk to the people you live with. If you see a new housemate struggling to carry in their stuff, offer to help. You'll probably strike up a conversation and might make a new friend.

Once you've met people in your accommodation, you could offer to cook a meal, suggest going out as a group, walk with them to lectures or organise a weekend day trip.

By volunteering

Volunteering in the local community is another great way to meet new people. It also adds valuable experiences to your CV. When you volunteer, you'll contribute to local causes you're passionate about and meet people from different walks of life who are interested in those causes too.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities

In a part-time job

Earn money and meet new people by finding part-time employment. Make sure you strike a balance between work and study time.

Explore part-time work opportunities

6 tips for meeting people

  1. Look out for new social opportunities – keep an eye on the Students' Union website and your departmental notice boards
  2. Say yes to new experiences – go to lunch or an event when asked and get to know new people better
  3. Be welcoming – have an open, friendly and warm attitude when meeting people, especially if you enjoy their company
  4. Spend time in different friendship groups – don't confine yourself if you get along with different people
  5. Remember you're not alone – the majority of people you meet also want new friends, so approach others who might be shy or nervous
  6. Listen – take the time to listen and show interest in other people and they'll often show the same kindness to you

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