Your first hand guide to university Orientation Week
University Orientation week is one of the most memorable experiences for any student. You go with the flow of activities provided to you by your university and try to explore the maximum of uni services during this period of university orientation week
Although there may be a few mandatory events, those are usually overshadowed by plenty of pub crawls, cultural fairs and campus events during the university orientation week. Participate in as many activities as you can, socialize and make new friends, and do your best to start your study abroad experience off on the right foot and it all begins with the university orientation week.
1. Get to know your new home
While there may not be mandatory campus tours, it’s always a good idea to get to know your new university and community. In addition to figuring out where you’re classes will be, you might also want to scope out new restaurants, places to hangout, and public transportation routes.
2. Buy a cell phone
I’ve found that a phone is pretty much a necessity, especially during those first few weeks you’re abroad. Buy a phone that allows you to make calls and text, that’s all you need. Having studied abroad in both Europe and Asia, I can tell you it will probably be the cheapest Nokia on the shelf – 40 euro/pounds
3. Join a university club or society
This is a biggie. Signing up for a club, sport, or society is one of the best ways to meet friends, learn a new skill or hobby, and just generally get integrated into the student life at your abroad university. Sign up for as many as you’d like, just keep in mind you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin.
4. Shopping and decorating
You should embrace living in a foreign culture for a semester or year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your room with a few things to remind you of home. I recommend going shopping for anything that you didn’t pack like toiletries or towels and while you’re at it, pick up some posters, pictures, or anything else that will make your room more comfortable.
5. Check in with friends and family back home
There’s a good chance you’re family wants to know you’re safe, and your friends want to know what it’s like living the dream in another country. Get in contact with your parents when you land so they know that you made it to your university, and set aside some time throughout the week to Skype with everyone back home. Believe it or not, they’re just as excited as you about your study abroad experience.
6. Sign up for courses and review your course reading
Signing up for courses was the single mandatory even that every student had to attend during university orientation week. There system was archaic and the lines were long, but skipping class enrollment could mean that the university assigns you to courses that you would’ve never chosen on your own. Go with a prepared list of courses if you can, and be open to other courses if the ones you originally wanted aren’t available – remember that this is a great time to take advantage of classes that aren’t normally offered at your home university.
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7. Start to budget
Get ready to spend a substantial amount of money during your study abroad orientation week. You’ll need to buy some necessities for your dorm room, you’ll probably spend a hefty amount at pub crawls and clubs, and you may even do some traveling. Try and keep a budget in mind though, as you’ll still need money after the university orientation week is over. It’s not a bad idea to begin planning out a long term budget once you have a feel for the cost of living in your abroad location.
8. Take anything and everything that’s free
Campus reps, sports teams, and clubs will all be trying to give you branded items for free during the university orientation week. Even if you don’t think you have a use for it now, there’s a good chance you’ll need that pen, key chain, frisbee, notepad, or condom (since many students have their own definition of “meet new people and try new things”.)
9. Go to the opening ball
In additional to the bar crawls and other orientation activities, there will usually be some sort of opening ball towards the end of the week. It’s the highlight of the university orientation week for some students, and the highlight of the year for others, with all students regardless of class year joining in. It’s a great chance to let loose with your friends, both old and new, one last time before the start of classes.
As you may now already know with all this, University Orientation Week would be one of the most exciting time for the whole year and those memories and photographs will be a cherished asset lifelong. Make the best of your year abroad.
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