Making Friends in Portsmouth

by Sophie Vakalis

Moving somewhere new comes with a variety of uncertainties, however, there is one thought that most of us seem to share: How will I make friends? It was certainly one of the first things I thought about when I landed in Heathrow. Luckily, the university, especially the Global Office, offers so many opportunities to meet people and make friends.

During my first week, I attended international orientation. There were lots of different events and information sessions during which I got a chance to meet and mingle with some of the other international students. From tours of the city and campus to lunches at Southsea and movie nights, there was always an opportunity to meet more people but, my favourite and most memorable experiences were made on the trips hosted throughout the year.

For the 2018-2019 year, I purchased (very affordable) tickets for day trips to Windsor, Brighton, Bath, Oxford, and Stonehenge. When I decided to go on the trips, I didn’t know who might also attend but when the morning came to board the coach for the first trip to Windsor, I was pleasantly surprised. Many of the people I had met in the previous days during orientation were also there, which turned out to be the start of some of the best friendships I made while here.

There are a lot of positive things about going on these trips. Of course it’s a great opportunity to see more of this beautiful country and explore some of what the south of England has to offer but it’s also a bonding experience. There’s something about navigating through a city you’ve never been in, with people you’ve only just met, that’s exciting and fun! You get to know people very quickly and develop instant connections based around these new memories you’re making. Within the span of a day, on that first trip to Windsor, I had bonded with the group I decided to tour with and just like that, they became friendships that continued on after that trip as well as on the trips to come. It became something we all looked forward to – going somewhere new and knowing that no matter the location or the weather, we would enjoy the day and become even closer as friends.  

There are a lot of positive things about going on these trips. Of course it’s a great opportunity to see more of this beautiful country and explore some of what the south of England has to offer but it’s also a bonding experience. There’s something about navigating through a city you’ve never been in, with people you’ve only just met, that’s exciting and fun! You get to know people very quickly and develop instant connections based around these new memories you’re making. Within the span of a day, on that first trip to Windsor, I had bonded with the group I decided to tour with and just like that, they became friendships that continued on after that trip as well as on the trips to come. It became something we all looked forward to – going somewhere new and knowing that no matter the location or the weather, we would enjoy the day and become even closer as friends.

Being in some of these iconic places with loads to see and do helped make those trips the happy memories they became. In Windsor we explored the castle, which I couldn’t help compare to the coverage I had seen during the royal wedding a few months prior. In Brighton we soaked up the sun (yes, it was sunny) while walking the famous pier. In Bath we strolled through the iconic Christmas market, enjoying sips of mulled wine along the way. In Oxford we shopped until we dropped and admired the collegiate architecture and at Stonehenge, we checked one of the ancient wonders of the world off our bucket lists. 

The iconic Stonehenge

The best part about the friendships I made was knowing that despite all of us being from different countries around the world, we all had so much in common. Everyone had a love for travel and the desire to expand their horizons by studying abroad. It’s what gets you here after all. Naturally, I also made more friends throughout the year, through my course and different social activities, but the friends I made during those trips are the one I think I will miss the most. 

You may have already guessed it but I would definitely recommend taking part in some of these trips throughout the year. Even if you don’t know who else will be there. It’s an opportunity at making memories that shouldn’t be passed up!    

To see which trips are coming up that you can buy tickets for, simply visit our web store.