Getting Involved with Your University Community
Making friends and making memories: get the most out of your uni experience.
Going to university can be a daunting experience, but it can also be an exciting opportunity to explore new cultures, make new friends, and learn new skills. Getting involved in university life is a great way to make the most of your experience and help you settle into a new school and a new country. Here are some tips for how you can get involved at university:
1. Attend orientation and other events
Most universities have an orientation program for new students, which includes welcome events and activities designed to help you get to know your new environment. Universities often host a range of events throughout the year, including concerts, lectures, workshops, and cultural festivals. Attending these events is a great way to get involved in university life and to learn more about your new environment. Many events are free or low-cost, so there's no reason not to attend.
2. Join student societies
One of the best ways to get involved in university life is to join a society. Student societies are similar to student council or student leadership teams in high school. They host events, support students, and advocate for the student body. These societies usually look for volunteers to help at events, which is a great way to figure out if you would like to join or not.
Most societies also offer positions specifically for first-year students, so you don't have to wait for your upper years to participate. If you're interested in event planning and marketing, advocacy, and the needs of students, then you should consider becoming a member of a student society.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and give back to the community, while also allowing you to explore your passions, develop employable skills, connect with people — and for certain programs, it might even be a requirement. The International Peer Community is a peer-support program aimed at helping international students settle in and feel at home at the University of Waterloo. Through community-based activities, the program helps students to build a support network, develop a sense of community and intercultural competencies, enhance interactional skills, and learn about Canada and other cultures. No matter where or how you volunteer, it's sure to be a rewarding experience for yourself and others.
4. Join a club or team
Many of the clubs you were part of in high school probably exist at university. Whether you are interested in sports, music, anime, or cooking, there is likely to be a club that you can join. It's great to meet new friends, but sometimes it's nice to connect with students from home. Among the 250+ clubs at Waterloo, there are cultural clubs such as Association of Caribbean Students, Culture and Language Exchange Club, Indian Cultural Association, and more.
Getting involved in university life is an important part of the student experience. Remember, the more you put into your university experience, the more you'll get out of it.
Learn more about student life at Waterloo!