Making friends in New Zealand
Once the initial excitement of being in a new country has worn off, you will probably start to experience feelings of homesickness, culture shock or just general loneliness. This is a perfectly normal reaction that will fade once you have adapted to your new surroundings. In the meantime, you should take comfort in the knowledge that your university provides the best opportunities to make new friends and familiarise yourself with New Zealand culture.
Attendance at Orientation Week is compulsory for international students and can work to your advantage. Universities usually organise activities and excursions during O Week that help students forge bonds with other students in the same situation. You university should also provide you with information about student life during O Week.
Be sure to check out the various clubs and societies at your uni. Joining a club is a great opportunity to befriend like minded people. If you are religious, the university chaplain can provide you with information about religious services, youth groups and other related organisations that can keep you in touch with your faith while meeting new people.
If you are living on campus, it is likely that your hall of residence has an entertainment committee that organises fun events for its residences. These activities are a great opportunity to relax and have fun! Another way to experience Kiwi life is to find employment. Even a few hours of work a week is enough to meet people and experience an authentic Kiwi lifestyle.
You may feel like you are the only person who feels out of place, but you definitely are not. Most first year students – even the New Zealand ones – tend to feel alone when they begin university study. University cafes, pubs and other such places are natural meeting points for students. You’re not the only one looking to make friends, so if you see someone sitting alone, why not go over and introduce yourself? They will probably be just as relieved as you to have someone to talk to.