Make a Facebook (or any other social media) group and add all the exchange students you meet.
In May 2016, I was stressing about the delayed acceptance letters from my host university and was fearful about whether I would go on exchange after all. When I worked up the courage to post a question on the university Facebook page, within minutes I realised that there were many other future exchange students in the same boat. So while speaking to a few of them, we became friends and I decided to make a Facebook page where the 5 of us could help each other with application, questions and all the paper work.
Little did I know how useful this page would be during my exchange semester. We decided to keep the page private and only add new exchange students that we had met/became friends with. Today, almost half way into the semester exchange, there is just under 100 people on the group. These are students that I see on a regular basis, travel with and study with.
How it has helped me:
So far we have planned hiking trips, travel plans for different places in North America (Niagara-falls, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Boston, NYC etc…), Birthday parties, House Warming parties, Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving lunch with Aussie BBQ twist, exam study sessions, lunch and dinner gatherings, exploring Ottawa Attractions, Halloween events and much more.
- Everyday someone is planning an activity, whether it is sightseeing, travelling, getting together, studying, and going out.
- We all help each other with questions and problems that might arise. We are all new to the country, but when everyone shares the little information they have, together, we are just like Canadian locals
- It is much easier to keep in touch with everyone, and not forget the person you met on the first day of exchange
- The page will be there when exchange is over. You can keep in touch with all of your newly made friends even when you are 1000s of kilometres away.
- For your next travelling plans (because let’s face it after exchange all you can think of is the next time you will travel) they can be the locals that can help you, since you pretty much meet a person from every country while on exchange.
- Making friends becomes much more effortless
- Making travel plans becomes a lot easier, as you are bound to find a travelling partner when you know a 100 people instead of 4-5.
Let’s just say, it is nice when you introduce yourself to a new exchange student and they reply by saying ‘oh you are the person that made that useful fb group’ because they recognise your name.