In British universities, new students have a special name: they are called Freshers, a shortened version of the American word ‘Freshman’. After their A-level exams, young people often make a fresh start by going to university, which can involve moving to a new city and leaving their family home. The first week of university life in the UK is called Freshers’ Week and is both a scary and exciting experience.
Freshers’ week is a chance to make lots of new friends and try out different hobbies. Most universities in the UK have a Union building: a place where students go to have fun. It is the perfect place to meet friends and join university societies. I go to Leeds University, which has one of the best Unions in the country. It has a supermarket, a gift shop, two bars and even three underground nightclubs. It also hosts over 300 societies, including sports teams, political groups and a university newspaper. Students buy a membership to be part of a society and go to social events to meet others with similar interests. Sometimes there are quite a lot of students in lectures so it is difficult to get to know people in class. Therefore, each subject has its own club, for example the English Society and the Philosophy society.
In Freshers’ week, lots of special activities are organised for people to meet each other. Tours of the town, creative workshops and parties are great ways to socialise with other Freshers. Sometimes famous singers come and play concerts especially for the new students of the university. There is also the opportunity to go on trips to theme parks or other big cities nearby.
Students often move into ‘halls of residence’ in their first year. They are placed in apartments with a few other new students and usually have their own bedrooms but share a kitchen. This is an excellent way to make friends but sometimes it can be difficult if you don’t get along with your new flatmates or if the shared area gets very messy.
Freshers’ Week can be quite an exhausting experience because so many activities happen at once. A lot of students feel homesick when they first arrive on campus and keep themselves very busy to avoid feeling sad about leaving their family. Some students use their new liberty to drink a lot of alcohol and eat unhealthy food during Freshers’ week. This can cause ‘Freshers’ flu’: people get ill after a week of late nights and non-stop parties. It is very easy to feel peer pressure during this time because people say it is supposed to be the best week of your life. It is an opportunity to make friends but it is important to remember that it is only the beginning of your time at university and that you have three years ahead of you to have fun.
What is the first week of university like in your country?