Finding a Community at University

By University of Waterloo Modified on March 27, 2024
Tags : Campus Life | Community | Student POV

Starting university in a new country? Wondering how you’ll make friends? Success comes easier when you have a supportive community around you.

 Finding a Community at University

The transition to university life can be both exciting and daunting, especially when you’re far from home. If you’re coming to school in Canada from another country, you’re not just starting a new academic journey, you’re also entering a personal and cultural transformation. There might be fear, anxiety, excitement, nerves, culture shock, and the occasional feeling of not fitting in — it’s perfectly natural to feel a mix of these emotions. It’s okay to feel these feelings and it’s important to acknowledge them. There’s plenty of resources to help you in this transition, you are not alone!

International student groups

Joining student groups can seem scary at first but it can help you connect with other students with the same cultural background or interests as you! Some universities may have student groups you can join that are specifically for international students. This is a great way to connect with others who are going through a similar experience as you.

The International Peer Community (IPC) program at the University of Waterloo is a peer-support initiative specifically designed to help international students with their transition into university life. Joining the IPC will provide you with a warm and supportive community that knows what you’re going through and is there to support you.

Student-run clubs

You can also find a community by joining clubs. The true essence of these student-run organizations lies within the sense of community they create. For international students navigating the complexities of university life in a new country, joining a club can be a way to find a sense of belonging. You’ll meet peers who share cultural backgrounds and interests, create lifelong friendships, and enrich your university experience!

At Waterloo we have over 200 student-run clubs. From cultural clubs celebrating traditions around the world to clubs all about cheese, there is something for everyone to connect, explore, and grow with!

Residence communities

Are you worried about making friends in university? Living in residence is a great way to find a community and to connect with other students that feel the same way!

Living in residence helps you to transition smoothly into university life. You’ll have easy access to campus, like libraries and cafeterias, numerous opportunities to make friends, and a smooth transition into student life. It also creates an environment for independence and personal growth.

At Waterloo, Living Learning Communities (LLCs) connect you with other students who share your same interests are and living in residence! LLCs provide built in friend groups and introduce you to fellow students that are studying the same program as you. By living in an LLC, you can engage in activities like study groups and group dinners which create a sense of belonging and help you build lasting friendships.

So, take a deep breath! There are a bunch of resources to help you find a community in university. Whether it’s student-run clubs, international student groups, residence, or by simply saying hello to a stranger, you’ll find a community that celebrates diversity, fosters inclusion, and values your unique perspective and experiences!

Embrace the journey ahead, with all its twists and turns, and know that you are not alone! Each challenge you overcome and each connection you make will enrich and shape your university experience.

Hear from current students about their tips for making friends at university

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