- Settle in
If your accommodation allows it, try and arrive a day or two before induction activities to kick off. This will give you space to get over any jetlag and acclimatize to the new environment. You could also make a few friends at your accomodation in this time to head to induction events with.
- Make your new room feel like home
As well as just unpacking, try to put up some photos and posters (induction events often have free posters!) and other decorations that will make it feel personal. Head to a cheap homestore and buy some small things for your room – a nice blanket, fairy lights, etc. It’ll help to have a nice space of your own when homesickness or crazy deadlines kick in!
- Go to events
The events your new university puts on in the first few weeks are fantastic ways to meet new people. Everyone at these events is in the same boat of being in a new place and looking to make new friends. They will also communicate any important information you need to know about visas, enrollment and other university technicalities. You can also find out about some of the clubs and societies you can get involved with during your time abroad.
- Free stuff!
Keep an eye out for what’s going on around campus for things like free lunches, stationery, calendars and planners, posters… Especially as an international student, the things you can pick up in the first few weeks can come in great use. The student services centre, library, student union, international office, your department and student societies tend to be the best starting points.
- Organise classes
If you haven’t finalised enrollment yet, here is your chance. Many universities allow you to attend multiple classes in your first week and then narrow down your subject selection based on that. Attending extra classes you’re considering might make the first week a bit more hectic, but you’ll be more confident that the subjects you’ve picked are the right ones for you. This also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions about the class to the lecturers in person before finalising your choices.
- Get off campus and explore town
As well as getting to know your way around the university, spend some time exploring your town or city. Keep a lookout for any city tours or trips being run by the international office or students union, or ask some of your new friends to come with you. Whilst you have a bit of spare time before the semester kicks off you can discover some cool places to go back to when you get a bit busier. Studying abroad isn’t just about the studying!
- Contact your friends and family back home
Although the first few weeks will be very busy and you’ll be heading to lots of events and making lots of new friends, it’s important to set aside time to video call your family and friends back home. It’s important to maintain your relationships when abroad, both for support in trickier times and to share your new experiences.
- Check in with your home university
Let your study abroad coordinator know that you’ve arrived safely and have settled in to your new accommodation. It’s also important to let your coordinator back home know what subjects you’re considering taking to make sure you’ll get credit for them. Your new university might not offer you subject selection advice, and if they do it won’t be relevant to your overall degree path, so when thinking about your options your home academic advisor should be your first port of call.
- Follow social media pages
Make sure to spend a bit of time finding and following the relevant pages for your new university, like the university official page, the student’s union, your accommodation provider and any clubs and societies you’re thinking about joining. Social media can be an excellent way to find out about events on campus, announcements and competition giveaways.
- Give yourself time to breathe!
Although it may feel like your schedule is full morning to night with events and things to do, make sure to allow yourself time in the first few weeks to relax and unwind. The time leading up to moving abroad can be stressful and the first few weeks overwhelming – if you then exhaust yourself at the beginning of the semester you could be burnt out before your classes even kick off! There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to adjust to the big changes.
10 things to do in your first week of studying abroad