Settling into a new place is hard work so here are our top five ways to settle into a new postgraduate course quickly and easily.
1. Don't Just Creep About On Social Media
Start early by joining any relevant pages and spaces online that relate to your course, institution and outside interests before you head off. You'll find that there are plenty of other postgrad students who are in exactly the same position as you. If you're lucky, then you'll find a few friends ahead of time to meet up with on the very first day or even before you've started. So hit the ground running and have a chat online with some of your future real life friends.
2. Get Reading
Start with the reading list and get on top of your course work ahead of time. This will give you a bit of breathing space at the start of the year so you can spend time socialising, exploring and settling into your postgraduate life. You'll enjoy yourself more and be able to relax if you know that you have already done all you can to prepare for the first few weeks.
3. Join Old Fashioned Clubs and Societies
This is the traditional way to make new friends outside of those people you'll meet on your course or in your department. Go along to Fresher's fairs and see what is on offer. Try out a new sport or have a go at something creative as you never know you might just uncover a hidden talent or make a bunch of new friends. Check out what clubs and societies your institution has through the Student Union or Association's pages as every club will have their own page there. The NUS has great advice on settling in and encourage participation in clubs and societies. If you can't find a club or society that interests you, then why not start your own.
4. Try Postgrads Only
If you're not living in accommodation for postgraduate students and your course is small, then settling in might be easier if you can meet some people who are postgrads too. Keep an eye out for social events or nights out aimed at postgraduate students only. The Student's Union will have some and so will your department. Rest assured that everyone attending these events will want to chat to fellow postgraduates.
5. Learn What's Different Before You Go
Your institution will want to welcome you so you should check out what they do to help new students settle in before they arrive. Different institutions will run things differently so start to learn early on about how places like the library or the gym work and what extra facilities you can access as a postgraduate student. Make yourself feel comfortable when you get to a new city or country and know what is and isn't safe or acceptable to do. Your university will have recommendations about your safety and security and will have loads of advice on feeling safe while you explore your new environment. If you're an international student, then the international office at your university will offer plenty of help on guiding you through local culture and customs to help you settle in.