How to make friends at University - when you can't meet in person

At University, a time that’s usually filled with nights out, society meet-ups and sports league games, it’s true that things are going to look a little different this year. But there are so many ways you can meet new friends that exist outside of your flat’s bubble. Here’s exactly how!


It probably feels a very weird, surreal reality that you’ve chosen to read this article. However, in 2020, the virtual has very much replaced our physical life. We’re occupying virtual spaces a lot to connect with loved ones, meet new people and socialise.

At University, a time that’s usually filled with nights out, society meet-ups and sports league games, it’s true that things are going to look a little different this year. But there are so many ways you can meet new friends that exist outside of your flat’s bubble. Here’s exactly how:

Join our official Freshers' Facebook group

There’s ONE and ONLY official Freshers’ Facebook group for UWE Bristol – and us folk at The Students’ Union at UWE run it. So, we know exactly how great it is for building connections when you’re about to start University. Log into Facebook, join the group and get chatting with other fellow students. You might find flatmates there, you’ll get updates about awesome online and in-person events to come, and you can connect with students on your course or with similar passions. Friendships: made.

Chat to people on Whova

As you may know, we used the event platform for this year's Virtual Freshers' Fair. If you signed up to the event and registered for the fair, you can still chat with people in the community section. This is a great chance to scoop up some friends outside of the bubble of your flat. You can hunt out likeminded people and make friendships that’ll last long after the discounts have run out.

Be part of HallsLife 

HallsLife is our (if we say so ourselves) awesome initiative that strives to connect students in halls and make your halls experiences the best they can be. Memories that last a lifetime can be made by joining our HallsLife Facebook group, interacting with fellow students on there and getting involved in our many in-person and virtual events. And you can’t not make friends at our interactive and engaging get-togethers – in the past, HallsLife have been famed for Bring Your Own Bowl, cooking classes, an event with an internationally-famous drag queen and other bond-building, fun times events.

Start a course chat 

This one’s simple and takes just a few seconds. This is a great way to meet people just like you, because the likelihood is, if you’re taking the same course, you’re going to share the same passions. All it takes is a scout out online on our Freshers’ Facebook group to see if others have started a chat you can join, or if you haven’t found the chat for you, make one and post about it online to gain traction! It’s a great way to virtually meet people you share commonalities with.

Get close with your seminar group 

For those of you that are lucky to have in-person meetings with those on your course this year, take full advantage of those meet-ups. Speak up in seminars if you feel comfortable to do so, bond over the work set, and reach out and continue those connections after you leave the seminar room. Get your internet stalk hat on and add your seminar pals on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, and you’ll find out about their personalities, the things you have in common and you can continue the chat online, building friendships that’ll last your degree and beyond.

Join a society or sports club 

Societies and sports clubs are fundamental aspects of the University experience. Naturally, bonding over a common passion and getting competitive on the pitch really does cement friendship like nothing else, and even if parts of your activities are virtually-based in 2020, you can get cracking on that friendship over Zoom, too! This is such a great way to meet people beyond your course and flatmates.

Pay attention to your online profiles 

Crafting your online profiles to ensure they speak for what you stand for is so important. Ensuring your bios, images and likes reflect just who you are will attract new University friends who share the same passions. Also, pay attention to what new potential friends’ bios say, as it’ll allow you to ask them meaningful questions to continue your conversation and build friendships.

Join in pub quizzes - or virtual ones 

It’s a student classic. Finish a long working day, head to the pub with your flatmates and do a classic pub quiz. There’s nothing like bonding with other students over a close tie or an annoyingly hard general knowledge question. There are also plenty of virtual pub quiz events happening that you can find online to help you bond as a flat!

Get to know those in your block 

Pass someone from Flat 9 on the stairwell? End up doing your laundry near someone from Flat 27? Take those fleeting moments as significant opportunities, and get talking (at a safe distance) with those in your block. Add them online and start mingling to build your friendships!

Remember: everyone is eager to bond 

This is the main thing you need to remember when starting University in 2020. Every student is in the same massive cruise ship as you, and you’re all embarking on an exciting, albeit slightly abnormal journey, this October. You’re all looking to meet awesome people, create the best memories and have a good time, so just reach out – you never know what friendships might blossom!

Want to know more about life at UWE Bristol? Check out our other Welcome content now!