“That’s the whole point of life, you know? To meet new people.”
I arrived in Australia two years ago and didn’t know anyone except for a few people that I met whilst on exchange in France. I was happy to be in a foreign country, walk around Brisbane and explore the city on my own, especially because I thought “I need some time to adapt, some time to think about the upcoming semester…”
Soon I realised that it’s good to spend some time on your own before starting something new, but this should only be for a short time. I found meeting new people was the best way to explore my new home and help me adapt to my new life in Australia.
How to meet new people?
Honestly, there are so many ways! My friend George talked to one new person in every lecture or tutorial in his first semester, that’s how I met him. This was a good way to get out of my comfort zone and also a possibility to get help with assignments because everyone in the class would help each other. Another friend Natalia attended free events announced on Facebook such as networking, dancing classes, talks, etc. We met at one event discussing how to use digital tools in your career. Now both George and Natalia are one of my closest friends in Brisbane.
I can continue forever about where I went and met people, so…
Here’s a list of my top tips:
- Sign up for Leadership and Development workshops at QUT. At the beginning of each session, there are ice breaker activities where you get to mingle and talk to other people attending. There is also a chance to get a certificate if you complete all the requirements of the program. Double benefit!
- Join one of the many QUT clubs and societies. I was a member of AMPED. This is QUT’s student society for advertising, marketing, public relations (AMPR) and international business (IB). I attended numerous networking events and even met industry representatives there, which was very beneficial for my future career.
- Attend the Business Advantage workshops. You don’t have to study Business to be part of these workshops. You can follow their events on Facebook. Jess, who manages the program, always makes sure that the programs are relevant to students future and career. I met a lot of motivated and smart people through this program, who I later reconnected with through university challenges or when forming groups for assignments. One web designer, I met is even working with me on a project for a small Australian business.
- Check out the Brisbane Student Hub. This is a place where all international students are welcome. I attended a very interesting social media training here. People at the Brisbane Student Hub are happy to give you advice about finding a job, dealing with stress management and other student-related matters. They also have great English workshops on learning Aussie slang, pronunciation, and writing. You don’t have to make an appointment, just follow their page on Facebook to find out about their events and programs.
And the last one, which is the most exciting one for me is the Study Brisbane’s Student International Ambassadors program. I was chosen to represent Russia among 40 students from different countries to tell other prospective students about Brisbane. This was a wonderful experience something that I will treasure forever. We all became like family and I know that we will be staying in touch.
You may ask: “But Anna, I am scared of talking to people…how did you cope with it?”
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Everyone is afraid at first. We all experience the same emotions, so you are not alone.
What helped me the most was thinking about how much fun I can potentially have with my new friends if I take the initiative and start a conversation.
Good luck everyone!