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By Simon Thompson
 
     
As the new academic term is underway, many students have moved away from

home and relocated to embark on their studies at university. While you may

feel that moving away to a new city is a big step outside of your comfort

zone, itís simply just the next chapter in your journey, and an experience

worth embracing. Youíll have your eyes opened to new cultures, meet new

people and discover new walks of life. Whether youíve visited the city

youíre moving to before, or if itís a completely new experience, there are

things that you can do to help yourself settle in.

Get organised:

First things first, make your immediate space feel welcoming and homely. Be

sure to unpack within the first couple of days and begin to make a place in

your room for all your belongings. Perhaps go out and buy some of your

favourite things, whether you get some new candles or a poster for the

wall, decorate your room in the way that you like it. Make this space your

own. Moving into a new environment, can throw you off balance, so making

your room feel like your own space and making it personal will help you to

feel like youíve developed a place of sanctuary that you can come home to

and relax in.

Do your research:

Find out what the city has to offer you, a quick google can go a long way.

If you love going to the theatre, research about local plays and

productions, or if you enjoy a morning run, research where your nearest

park is. Maybe the place youíve moved to is famous for its history, its

restaurants or its coffee houses. If so, research about where you might

like to visit, whether itís an art gallery or just a coffee shop in town,

outline some places that you might like to see within the city. This is

also a good time to research the transport links, local supermarkets and

gym facilities. Understanding the spaces around you can help you feel more

settled, and who knows, maybe your new home has some fascinating heritage

that you didnít know about. Get to know what the city can offer you, find

out whatís around you and understand what there is to do in your new home.

Explore

:

Once youíve researched how to get about the city, the best way to really

settle in is to go and be a tourist for a day. Whether you book yourself a

walking tour, take a city cruise or even plan a route yourself, embrace the

tourist life while you figure out what the city has to offer. Once you

start getting familiar with the city and your immediate surroundings,

youíll no longer have to rely on google maps to get around. Knowing your

way around can help you feel like youíve established yourself within the

city. Although it may take a while till you know your route completely,

every time you take a trip into town or use the bus network youíll become

more at ease in your new environment. Exploring is a crucial way to get to

know your new city, and if you can, try to visit new places every time you

venture out.

Say yes to new experiences:

The best way to make new connections and build relationships with others is

to say yes to the experiences and opportunities that come your way. Maybe a

friend asked you to come for a drink, or youíve been asked to join a local

sports team, who knows where it could lead? Embrace the experiences your

new city has to offer you. You never know, you might meet some likeminded

people and meet some new friends along the way. Maybe even join a society,

whether youíve got an interest is sports or prefer to debate hot political

topics, most universities have an array of societies for students to join

and to meet new people at. Saying yes to new experiences doesnít mean that

you have to completely abandon your comfort zone, but it is a good way to

expand your social circle and establish new connections within the city.

Connect:

If youíre a student moving to a new area, youíre more than likely not alone

in this. There will be an array of other first years going through the

exact same thing. In this instance, social media is your best friend, use

sites such as Facebook to connect with other likeminded people and begin to

build a friendship before youíve even moved to the city. There will be

group chats for your university accommodation, for your course and more

general forums for people in the same year. Using social media can help you

to connect with new people in the same city and can be especially helpful

given the current pandemic and increasing restrictions on social

distancing. Finding people over social media and making connections will

help you ease into your new student life.

Create a new tradition

:

Whether youíre one for trying new things, or whether you enjoy the

familiarity of your comfort zone, humans are creatures of habit and

integral to making us feel at home, are the routines and rituals that we

abide by. So, do something for yourself that gives you a new routine,

ritual or tradition. Whether you visit your favourite coffeeshop every

weekend, do your food shop on a certain day or simply meet a friend each

week for a drink. Creating these routines will help you feel more settled

and at home.

Plan things to look forward to:

Whether you buy yourself a new calendar or simply input things into your

phone, having something to look forward to is a great way to help add some

structure into your new life. Invite your friend up from outside of the

city, or plan a visit home, maybe even plan a little getaway. Just because

youíve moved to a new city, doesnít mean that you can never leave it, a

little trip away often helps you to appreciate the things that you love

about your new city and establish a sense of home. Even if the things that

you plan are only small events, itís always good to have something to look

forward to.

Moving away is a big step for most students, but itís important to remember

that each city has its own history, its own unique personality, and is full

of new experiences and new people. Moving to university is the new chapter

in your life, do all you can to embrace it.

 
 
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a round up of the best...

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