Discover Ireland’s warmth through four unique paths to friendship. Join a Student Ambassador, Ilah Jefferis in this adventure.

Join clubs and societies:

Societies and clubs are fantastic because they introduce you to people outside your everyday bubble. It can be challenging to meet people who share the same interests as you. However, most societies put on free weekly events, and I guarantee there is something for everyone! If you want to take it a step further and help organize the events, I recommend you run for a position on the society board. Clubs like ‘Mountaineering’ are perfect for international students who want to see Ireland’s luscious hills and nature. I am personally in three different societies. What I enjoy most about attending the weekly meetings is that they acquaint me with students of different ages and majors. As a first-year student, I find this especially helpful because almost everyone is older than me, so they are already familiar with campus and classes. Older students offer excellent food recommendations and insights about lecturers. And I am so grateful for the people that I have met through societies. It makes you feel seen to “nerd out” about specific shared interests.

Be brave:

As someone who finds it challenging to engage people I have yet to become comfortable with, I understand how unnerving and often draining it is to talk to new people. However, college is the time to be courageous. If you sit next to someone you enjoy conversing with during a lecture, take a small leap and invite them for coffee. The worst they could say is no! I invite you to open yourself up to the possibility of a new friend. Even if you have a terrible time getting coffee, at least you had a chance to practice your social skills! College provides you with a whole new sea of people. And you don’t have to hang out with someone because they are in your immediate proximity. Invite that person you always talk to during swim practice to study in the library together. In order to grow, you have to learn how to say yes. Nevertheless, you can also master the skill of invitation. Ask! Take advantage of local events: I come from a small town in upstate New York, where the best thing to do on a Friday night is go to Target. Since studying in Cork, I have found that in a big city, there are a million events to explore! Every weekend, from Jazz Fest to Film Festivals, is an opportunity for a new adventure. The Student Union often posts about local events, or there might even be signs around town. It is vital that you do not spend all of your free time in your room watching ‘the Office’. Trust me…life happens when you get out of bed.

Spend time with your roomates:

Roommates are people you are automatically going to spend a ton of time with, even if that is just during the breakfast and dinner hours. Do not just co-exist, become a family! Not everyone will naturally click, but your friendship could blossom if you start with a simple activity like making banana bread together. Roommates make excellent friends because they do the same remedial tasks as you. Why go grocery shopping alone when you can venture into the city with your roommate? It is essential to have people to fall back on when moving to a new country. I recommend having a movie night in your pajamas or building a puzzle together! Bonding takes time, but doing activities requiring patience and creativity will help you get to know the person who sleeps in the next room. Roommates can be siblings, friends, and parents all in one!

Ilah Jeferis is studying BA Film and Screen Media at UCC via Education in Ireland.