Swinburne Student Survival Guide

5 ways to make new friends and socialise

Socialising could be very easy or very difficult, depending on your personality. However, some extroverts may also find it difficult to make new friends if they're surrounded by people who aren’t like-minded. Therefore, today I’d like to share a few tips that I know as a selective introvert and what I personally know about making new friends with the people around you as an international student.

- For introverts, selective intorverts, and ambiverts

First of all, you could join a specific club that you’re really interested in and passionate about. It’d make your life so much easier as you'd have something to talk about with the people in the club, and it’d also be easier for you to come up with a topic without having the constant fear or worry of striking up a conversation because of awkwardness. By doing that, you could even take the short route to making friends with like-minded people because no one seriously has the time to befriend everyone when you’re at university. As always, "quality over quantity"! However, if you’re someone who has a hectic schedule and joining clubs isn’t on your list, try to initiate a hangout where you can ask your friends to bring their friends along with them so you can make new friends without having the fear of socialising on your own. For someone who gets anxious easily around new people, this really helps me connect with them.

- Late Lab

Late lab could also be a great hangout spot for some students and a way to deeper connect with your classmates, as I’m sure when it comes to groupwork, you’ll need a spot to get your work done together. Not just that, you could even work on your assignments together with your friends without having to travel all the way to the State Library of Victoria to study. If you’re lucky, you might even find a study buddy at the late lab while you’re studying on your own.

- Be open minded

A lot of the time, you will encounter people with diverse personalities, cultures, backgrounds, accents, and so on. But that's fine. Keep an open mind and share your knowledge. If you're willing to learn about the people around you, I'm sure they'll do the same for you.

- Be yourself

Personally, I’ve been struggling with being myself throughout my years in high school and even now as an international student in a foreign country. Sometimes you may catch yourself trying to sound like the native speakers or even fake your identity just to fit in but at the end of the day, these are the things that make you unique and make you who you are. Being different from the people around you is a gift. Therefore, let that gift shine. Be the person who you want to be, not the person someone wants you to be.

- Try to be comfortable with the uncomfortable while you’re making new friends

I know, I know. It is so much easier said than done, and I can totally feel you, but sometimes life just loves to give you a little lemon to teach you a lesson, and I’m sure everyone has been through that. Especially those who have had negative experiences with making new friends or even find it extremely difficult to make new friends, which is alright. You don’t have to befriend someone with whom you find yourself uncomfortable. But if you’re given a situation, for example, while working on an assignment, you could try talking it out with your tutor or even your teammates. Worse comes to worst, if you really have no choice but to work with them, I guess you just have to suck it up and try to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, even for just a while.

- Get a job

Another way to make friends could be by getting yourself a job while being able to earn yourself some cash. It would also make your resume look good. Isn't that a win-win for you? Yeah, it definitely is.


Listen to studying abroad on a podcast called Life in General with Vanessa Chim, an international student from Swinburne.