Moving away from your hometown can be hard, making friends in a new city even harder. But you’re not alone on this adventure, these fellow UC students give insights and tips on how they coped and made friends in a new environment.

More than just an O-week party theme, country to city is a daunting lifestyle change that thousands of university students face every year.

The new-found independence of moving to a city from a rural area can be a scary and, at times, lonely experience. You have to learn to navigate a new environment and an entirely new social setting as well.

Personally, moving from a rural area where everyone knows everyone to a city with way more people, and way more things to do, was an overwhelming and somewhat isolating transition. The thought of establishing a new friend group made me anxious. Hailing from a rural city known for country music and cattle, I worried about my ability to make connections and fit in with this new lifestyle.

Nevertheless, moving interstate for Uni was a great opportunity for growth. I found myself establishing connections in no time by chatting to people in my classes, participating in O-week activities and parties, and, of course, living on res helped. I even ended up finding people here from my home town! Ultimately, UC is a diverse community and finding people with the same interests as you isn’t difficult at all.

Having been there and done that, fellow rural students Tara, Angel, and Charlotte share their story and offer some advice to students making the big move:

For UC Forensics student, Tara, making friends in Canberra was “harder in some ways.”

‘There were less relatable conversations about day-to-day life and less recreational activities in the countryside so our ideas of fun were different” she said.

Tara says that the biggest difference in Canberra is the size and population, variety in shopping, and fashion. A word of advice to future rural students; “you’ll find so many people also from country towns so you’ll have people to talk to about similar topics. Also, it’s not too much of a difference that it’s impossible to find friends here, you’ve just got to find the right people”

Uc medical imaging student, Charlotte, says the move was difficult, ‘to all of a sudden be independent and having to rely on yourself, especially coming from a country town to a city. Everything is on a bigger scale here compared to home, but I’m pretty used to it now.

Canberra is a bigger place compared to Orange so they are pretty different. There are more people here and possibly more opportunities also.”

Busy streets of Canberra
Photographer: Daniel Morton

On making friends, Charlotte says, “it was a bit hard at first because only one of my good friends moved here from home, but semester one o-week really made it easier to get to know people. There were really good social events that made it a lot more fun getting to know people and they became good friends. In my degree everyone seemed to get along quite well so I’ve made some really good friends out of that as well!”

“My best advice is to put yourself out there and get involved in events, don’t be scared to say hey and start a conversation,” says Charlotte.

Students dance at the UC Toga Party.
Photograph: UCLife Facebook

For design student, Angel, who already had friends living here from home, the transition was easier as she was able to meet other friends through them.

“It’s definitely larger and busier, has a lot more opportunities, and there’s always something to do. It’s more culturally diverse and accepting, in terms of quiet suburbs and city areas it’s versatile, and there’s always events and venues that cater to different interests,” Angel says of Canberra.

Angels word of advice to future students is to look into ‘all the uni and uni clubs pages and check out all the events, go to them and try to put yourself out there. Explore the city and see what it offers you in terms of your hobbies and interests!”

Student celebrates win in the UC E-Sports lounge
Photograph: UCLife Facebook

So, whether its joining clubs on market day, attending the numerous o-week activities, or simply putting yourself out there and introducing yourself to a classmate, making the big move from rural Australia to the ‘big smoke’ of Canberra is a daunting but ultimately rewarding experience that can lead to life-long friendships.

New students relax at UC O-week
Photograph: UCLife Facebook

For new rural students (or just new students in general) looking to make new friends at UC and get amongst the social activities on campus, check out the events calendar and UC Union page for a list of upcoming events.

For students struggling or needing guidance in this transition, UC student support services are online every Monday from 10:30-12:30 pm on canvas in the Study Help virtual room.

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