Blog by UCC Student Ambassador, Máirelise Robinson
University of California, San Diego
1. Be yourself –There is no better way to make a real friend than to let them see who you are. The Irish are very friendly and open; if you are yourself it will be much easier for you to find those whom you will connect with.
2. Don’t be afraid to speak up and out –Again, be yourself! Be loud, be noticed, be heard! It is easy to get lost in the crowd, especially if you are like me and look exceptionally Irish. You need to make yourself noticed to find those friends!
3. Don’t worry about “being Irish –Irish students are just as excited to meet a foreigner as you are to meet them! They do not expect you to be like them and are just as fascinated by your home, culture, and life as you are by theirs. Many of them will not study abroad, so you are their only chance to experience life outside of Ireland. Share your traditions, food, and stories with them; be proud of your home country!
4. Find a society/club that you can become passionate about –Spend a bit of time before you arrive looking online at the different social options on campus (http://www.uccsocieties.com/the-societies-table/ or http://sport.ucc.ie/clubs/). There are plenty of options, so you are bound to find something you love! Societies and clubs at UCC create a very open, solid, and active community. They are a great way to meet people outside of class and get connected to a group of people who share similar interests with you.
5. Hang around on campus where there are other students –Students tend to gather in many places around campus; two good spots are the Student Union Lounge and the second floor of the Student Centre. A lot of people spend the day there waiting to see friends, for class to start, or to eat lunch. There are not too many seats, so do not worry about asking to sit with a group and strike up a conversation. Make it a point to meet two new people a day!
6. Don’t just take special visiting student modules –There are plenty events for visiting students and it is much easier to find yourself always in a group of internationals. Take some classes with Irish students, branch out, and step out of your comfort zone. There are so many unique courses at UCC beyond the visiting student modules that are bound to capture your interests, so take the chance!
7. Go to social events for your major/society/club regularly –If someone invites you to a social event, do not turn it down! Take every opportunity to go out, explore the city, and invest some time in the community of friends you make. The more regularly you attend events, the stronger your friendships will be, and the more connected you will be to UCC campus life!
8. Do not worry about taking weekend trips –Most Irish students live at home, so going away for the weekend is not a big deal. A lot of them will go home, will be working, or will be busy as well, so do not let being away on weekends stop you from being social during the week. Alternatively, invite your Irish friends to join you on trips! Sometimes they may even offer to drive you as far as the Cliffs of Moher!
9. Ask for numbers –The first thing you should do when you arrive in Cork is get a cell phone and a texting plan! Unless you plan on carrying your laptop around and adding everyone you meet on Facebook, getting numbers from your new friends is the best way to cement those friendships and meet up again later.
10. Be a friend –This is a simple one, the friends you will make at UCC can be for life. It is easy to make several acquaintances and lose track of each other when you return home, but if you really invest the time to get to know each other and be a true friend, you can have Irish friends for life.
Name: Máirelise Robinson
Major: International Studies and Urban Politics (double major)
Activities: martial arts, soccer, volunteering, exploring/adventuring, and church related activities