The new academic year is almost upon us! To welcome all students (UK, EU and International) all Universities will hold a Fresher’s or Welcome Week. This is usually a one week long, filled with parties, fun events and University socials to get you socialising and mixing with your new University classmates, housemates and staff.
What does it involve?
For International students, Fresher’s/Welcome Week usually begins with your Orientation into University and UK life. This will mean attending a registration event with your International office so make sure you bring all your important documents with you. Your University International Officers will email you beforehand to let you know what you must bring with you but as a general rule of thumb, this usually includes your passport, visa or biometric card, offer letter, and CAS number.
They will also assist you with registering with the police, doctors and any other compulsory activities you will need to undertake before you start your studies.
During this Orientation programme, you will also be taken on tours of the University Campus and local area. This will give you a chance to familiarise yourself with the different buildings as well as finding out where the local supermarkets and shops are.
The social events during Fresher’s Week are usually organised by the University’s Student Union. These are anything from pub crawls (where you go from one pub to another), to tea parties and silent dances. There is something for everyone. However, for these social events you have to purchase tickets from the Students’ Union directly.
The University Fresher’s Fair is usually held for two or three days towards the end of the Fresher’s Week. This is where local businesses, student societies and clubs all come together under one roof (usually a campus building) to provide as much information as they can, and for you to sign up to any you think are interesting. It is a fantastic event as societies often compete with each other to attract new members. Expect to see people dressed in sports gear, traditional & religious clothing, fancy dress, exhibition stands, films and live displays of dance and drama.
Universities have hundreds of societies representing many different areas – sports, politics, countries, religions, hobbies (music, food, manga, etc). And then there are those you’ve probably never heard of, like The Assassins’ Guild, tiddlywinks and Ninja Society… To find out more, read our article about weird and wonderful societies!
If you join a society, you can participate as much or as little as you like – most hold weekly meetings or social events, but you’re not required to attend them all.
The best thing about the Fresher’s Fair? You’ll get lots and lots of free stuff! From food (pizza!) to pens and toys, make sure you grab them all!
Student Support/Welfare Officers, as well as any member of the International team will always be on hand to provide assistant and support whenever you need it.
You will also find an Advice Centre in the Students’ Union where you can go for confidential advice and help.
All Universities offer students religious advice also. Ask a member of the International team where your local prayer room or chaplaincy is and you will find staff on hand to provide alternative advice and guidance for you.
Finally, during Welcome Week you will see many students with special t-shirts stating they are Student Ambassadors walking around the Campus. They are there to provide you with guidance, directions and any assistance you require. If you’re lost or need some help, don’t be afraid to go up to one to ask them questions. Many of these Student Ambassadors will also be current International students, so chances are you will meet one who speaks your own language and who can provide some familiarity and comfort to you.