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How to meet new people when you first start uni

Uni ready
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“How do you meet new people at ANU?” It’s one of the questions we get asked the most – and with uni probably being your first real taste of independence, it’s a great one.


  • Getting involved in every opportunity you can while at university will ensure you get the most out of the experience.
  • Turn around and say hello to the person beside you in class.
  • Come to O-Week and join a club or society – or become an advocate or activist. Jump in and participate in the movie, pizza and games nights, and other events organised by your student residence.

Unless you’re lucky enough to bring your friends to uni with you, you will want to make some new connections to help you feel at home and get the most out of the university experience. The only question is, where to start? With every new student in the same boat, here’s a few ideas.

Come to O-Week

Good news! O-Week is for new students and packed with events designed to help you all get to know each other.

New student inductions and college welcomes are obvious places to start striking up conversations, but you can also tag along on a campus tour or turn around and chat to the person in the bean bag next to you while relaxing on the Kambri lawn.

Helping you to meet people at ANU during O-Week are also movie nights and speed-friending events, so you’re sure to make some new friends before classes even start.

Hundreds of new students chatting to the various club stalls during O-Week.

Hundreds of new students chatting to the various club stalls during O-Week.

Follow your interests

ANU is home to heaps of student-run clubs and societies. We have professional societies, designed to build a network of people in similar disciplines. Then there are the fun clubs, all student-run, which are about bonding over shared interests. And with cultural clubs representing people from countries worldwide, you’re bound to find something for you.

In fact, university clubs and societies are some of the best places to meet new people anywhere. You never know, you might end up playing board games with your future best friend or having a casual coffee with a future employer.

And the connections won’t stop with uni; once you’ve finished your degree, you’ll become a member of the ANU alumni network and be able to join in events in countries worldwide.

Students from the The ANU Competitive Dance Team (CDT) perform in Joplin Lane

Students from the The ANU Competitive Dance Team (CDT) perform in Joplin Lane.

Become a student advocate or activist

The ANU Students Association – or ANUSA for short – has some amazing advocacy and activist opportunities. If you want to make a difference, looking them up is a great place to start.

For example, the ANU Environment Collective is supported by ANU and open to any student wanting to participate in environmental activism. You’ll meet new people and strengthen your bond by working together on a cause.

Among the ANUSA departments you can join if you’re eligible is the ANU Disabilities Student Association or the Indigenous Department. They’re great opportunities to have a say on issues that concern you, and to represent both yourself and others.

Strike up a conversation in class

Sure, it may be obvious, but since you’re both interested in the same subject, say hello to the person sitting next to you. The friends you make in your lectures, tutorials or lab sessions can help you work through the things you’re stuck on and form a study group, and you can be there for them too. There’s nothing nicer than having someone to walk into class with.

Live in student accommodation

If you’re living in student accommodation, chances are you’ve come to ANU from outside Canberra. Fortunately, you’re surrounded by people in the same boat.

Student residences run social events throughout the year, with plenty at the start to help you meet new people. Go to as many of these events as possible to help you settle into your new digs. Everyone needs connections, and this way there’s always going to be someone you can visit or chat with when you feel like a walk along the halls outside your room. In fact, these friendships will probably last throughout the years of your degree – and beyond.

It’s all about getting out there

ANU does everything it can to make finding new friends easy. All you need to do to take advantage is get yourself out there. The more events you attend, the more people you’ll meet – and the better your chances of forging wonderful friendships and enjoying your degree.

Students grab bean bags to sit on and catch up at the lawns in Kambri.

Students grab bean bags to sit on and catch up at the lawns in Kambri.

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Still wondering how to meet people at ANU? Visit The ANU Students Association.