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Building connections in a new community

Building connections in a new community


Starting at university can be a challenging experience for anyone, but particularly so when it requires moving away from the people and places that we’re familiar with. Follow along to find out how you can build connections within and outside of uni!

Written by Michael Roffe

A 450km move from Sydney to Wagga Wagga meant for me a significant physical separation from my established life and connections back home.

So, upon arriving in Wagga there was a need for me to establish feelings of connection to support my wellbeing whilst studying.

Fortunately, irrespective of location, there are plenty of opportunities both within and outside of the University.

The windscreen view as I arrived on move-in day.

Building connections at university

Being a part of the university community can offer rich networks, that form a significant support for your studies. This could be just a familiar face in a Thursday lecture, or those who form significant lifelong friendships.

SRCs, ResLIFE and Clubs all offer a range of social activities throughout each session, and are a fantastic way to meet other people, particularly those with similar interests.

Make a point of checking out the list of clubs available as well as their calendar of events.

There is something for everyone!

Most courses even have a dedicated club, run by fellow students, to provide opportunities to those within the course, and is an excellent way to connect with peers and older students studying your course.

A recent social trivia event held at The Deck, Wagga Wagga

Building connections through volunteering

Outside of university, the simplest way to connect with your new community, is to take up a volunteering role.

For many organisations, they are reliant on volunteers to provide the necessary work for important community functions.

For students, it is an excellent way to connect with like-minded people that are looking to make a difference and to give back to the communities which house our campuses.

Some volunteering organisations can even offer nationally recognised training and qualifications to volunteers!

The easiest way to find a volunteering role, is just to start with what interests you or where you would most like to make a difference.

If you enjoy assisting people, you could consider emergency services like the NSW SES, or meal services such as Meals on Wheels.

If you enjoy working with animals and the environment you could consider the RSPCA or Bushcare, and if sport is more your thing, put your hand up to help at your local club.

There is no shortage of opportunities!

Author, Michael, playing the sousaphone at a concert

Building connections through your skills

Last, but not least, identify your skills, and whether they be musician, sportsperson, or anything in-between, find a community within them.

For me as a tuba player, that meant joining the local concert band when I arrived to continue to improve my playing skills and join an existing community group and network.

For you or others that may be joining a rugby team, a 4WD club or even the local bonsai society!

No matter what takes your interest, there are countless opportunities to find your sense of community when moving for study.

Put yourself out there and get involved!

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