‘Freshers’ for internationals explained by an international
Almost exactly one year ago, a very excited but rather lost me arrived at Leeds. It was also around this time when I first heard about Freshers. People kept saying things like ‘see you at Freshers’ or ‘should we meet at Freshers?’ and I kept wondering ‘what do you exactly mean? Is Freshers a thing? A place? A person?’.
You may not be as lost as me one year ago, but perhaps you are still (rightfully)confused about the concept of Freshers. If that is the case, keep reading. Here you have some quick answers from a fellow international student.
What is Freshers Week?
‘Freshers Week’ is, in short, seven days of events, activities, fairs and free things that welcome students to University. These include Clubs and Societies fairs, nights out or job fairs among other events designed to help students getting an overview of what to expect from their Leeds experience while making new friends.
The term ‘Fresher’ is widely used in the UK to describe a first-year student who’s just starting University. However, does this mean that if you are a Postgraduate or a Ph.D. student you can’t participate? Of course not. Freshers is intended to get everyone on board so there is something for every student.
When and where is Freshers happening?
Freshers Week normally happens in the period of time between students arriving and lectures starting. This year it is from Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th September. Most of the activities take place at the Union building and its surrounding but some happen elsewhere. So make sure you check the description of the event before heading anywhere!
What about International Welcome Week?
Here at Leeds, there is also something called ‘International Welcome Week’. This is similar to Freshers Week in the sense that there are many events and activities happening but this week is specifically designed to welcome international students — who normally arrive earlier than British students — and introduce them to their new life at Leeds as soon as they get here. This year, International Welcome Week is from Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd September.
Which one is for me?
Even if they have different names, the purpose of these weeks is the same: helping you get settled into your Leeds adventure. So, regardless of where in the world you are from, I can assure you you will find things for you in both weeks!
How to make the most out of them?
The right formula of how to live Freshers doesn’t exist. However, these are some things I’ve learned:
- Go to those events that scream ‘you’ and be yourself, that way, the chances that you have a great time will duplicate.
- Make time to check out the Clubs and Societies fair and join at least one! This is a great way to meet people with similar interests and try new things.
- Think twice before saying no to a flyer, a lot of them will get you free things!
- Look after yourself. It is easy to get dragged by the emotion of the moment and leave things like eating and sleeping properly on the side, but believe me, you don’t want to be ill your first week of lectures.
- Do all the paperwork. I know this is probably the last thing that you want to do during your first weeks at Leeds but getting it out of the way will help you have a nice and easy academic start.
But lately, the most important thing is that you make Freshers whatever you want your Freshers to be. This is your year. Go out there and have a good start!