University offers losts of opportunities to meet new people and to make friends, however it can feel quite lonely and isolating when you first arrive. This is very common and will be felt by most students when they start at University as it is likely a significant change from where they were and how they lived previously.
Things to help are:
The Students' Union's Buddy Scheme is a matching service for new students to meet up with current students to ask questions about what it's like at Sussex University and find the best way to become more a part of the community here. Click Here to Find out more »
Student Groups, Sports Clubs and Societies are another great way to meet people with a shared interest and find new friends. There are hundreds of groups with a variety of interests and activities, so hopefully you'll find something you're already doing or interested in you'd like to continue whilst at University, or something completely new: Click Here to Find out what groups are available »
If you feel that langauge may be stopping you from meeting people, the Students' Union runs a Language Cafe where students wishing to learn or improve on a language can meet and talk in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Click Here to Find out more »
Pubs & Bars
Pubs - Public Houses - and Bars are an essential part of many English people's socialising. Nearly all are bar or counter service, and you will need to stand at the bar to be served. Whereas the English love a good queue, this is not the case in pubs and bars, here you stand along the bar filling in any available space and further people fill in behind those lined up against the bar. It is then up to the bar staff to know who is next and serve the right person. You are ok to get irritated if they get this wrong, but don't start waving money at them and shouting 'Oi! Over here mate, I'm next' or they may ignore you. The British don't, as a general rule, tip bar staff, only waiters in restaurants and some cafes, and price of your drink covers all taxes and service.
Buying a Round - Less common now, but this is a way of drinking socially in a group. If you go to a bar in a group and someone says 'My round' they will buy drinks for everyone in the group, this isn't them being extraordinarily generous, it is a way of coordinating the social drinking of that group. When the first round, or set, of drinks are finished the next person in the group buys the next round and so on until everyone has bought a round and then, depending on the size of the group or how long you are out, you start again. Essentially, each person in the group pays for a drink for everyone in turn.
In the UK, you can buy alcohol if you’re over 18. It’s perfectly acceptable for adults of all ages to drink alcohol in moderate amounts. For many, drinking alcohol is an established part of their social life – ‘going out for a drink’ is how they relax or spend time with friends. You don’t have to drink alcohol; you can always ask for a non-alcoholic drink instead.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to places that serve alcohol, explain this to your friends – there are lots of other places where you can meet - with a number of cafes opening later into the evening the options for an alcohol free venue are increasing.
Pubs, clubs and bars are obliged to serve free tap water, and if you are drinking alcohol, it helps to drink water as well.
Never accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended as drink spiking can be an issue, this is where a drug or intoxicant is added to a drink without the drnker knowing. People drink from bottles with a straw to help deter this.
Forms of identification
Most places serving alcohol (pubs, clubs, restaurants, etc.) have an over 25 policy, which means if you don't look over 25 then they will ask you for photographic ID.
Do not carry important documents, such as your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or your passport when you are out. It is expensive and time-consuming if they are lost of stolen. It could also stop you travelling.
Alternative forms of ID include:
- Your student ID card
- Validate UK
- UK driving licence – a provisional licence is acceptable even if you do not intend to drive.
These alternative forms of ID are not guaranteed to be accepted by all businesses.
Smoking is illegal inside all public places in the UK, including University buildings, pubs, clubs and restaurants.
You can smoke outdoors, often in designated areas.
If you are smoking around others, it’s polite to ask if they mind before you light a cigarette.
If you are renting accommodation, check your agreement to see if you’re allowed to smoke inside or not.
The laws concerning illegal drugs in the UK are, as in most countries, strict and penalties can be severe. You can get more information on drugs here: TalktoFrank
You could also be breaching your visa responsibilities if you get in trouble with the police.