Student blog post

Making friends in Dundee

Student Danila shares her advice on making friends at university.

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As an international student, I know firsthand how difficult it is to leave behind everyone you know and have regular contact with. Moving to a new country is daunting.

And it can be difficult to make friends, learn to put yourself out there and make connections. But it is possible!

My first year was completely under lockdowns. Even then, I was still able to make good friends.

Join the group chats

The University uses Unibuddy Community to create a group chat where undergraduate offer holders can get to know each other. This is a great opportunity to make friends before you even arrive in Dundee. You can join groups to find your flatmates or classmates, find other local and commuter students, or generally find future students who share similar interests to you. If you’re an undergraduate offer holder, look out for your invitation to join.

It can be annoying to have all the group chats going off at all times - but that’s what the mute button is for. I joined a few group chats before I even got here – some were for all students starting in 2020, others were degree based.

Every now and again you will see someone saying, “I’m bored, anyone wanna meet?” You never know who you might click with and who will stay in your life. It’s a good way to hear about flat shares that have a spare room, or student friendly job vacancies, so it is quite practical to be tuned in and check them now and again. 

Societies and clubs

Join as many societies and clubs that you have any interest in as you possibly can. Chances are whatever you are into is available with DUSA or ISE. It is a guaranteed way to be invited to socials where you can meet people. Society activities are a great way to get to know people while you are doing something, so it is less awkward than just approaching people and starting conversations.

Local communities 

If you have hobbies that you want to take outside of the University of Dundee bubble, there are lots of local communities where you can meet people. If you are into cycling - the Dundee Cycle Hub by the V&A can help set you up with affordable bikes and organise biking trips with a side of delicious coffee! If you are into music, there are a few music studios you can book for an hour or two to practise or join the Band Society who put on gigs for their members to play at. There are local pubs that feature live music a couple of times a month like George Orwell and ArtBar. There is a Waterstones book shop for the book lovers which includes a cafe to sit and read in. There is also Highlander Games for anyone into tabletop games of any kind - they have it all and host events so you can meet people to play with in their cosy cafe.

I am sure there are many more, so whatever it is you are interested in, look it up and there may be local businesses and communities to join and explore through your hobby.


If you are single and new to Dundee, dating can be really fun! I have met a lot of people that way - some ended up being life lessons, others became friends, and the lucky one got to be my boyfriend. Going on dates can be fun and a confidence boost. Being open to meeting different people teaches you as much about yourself and what your preferences are as it does about the other person.

A word of advice: always prioritise your safety! In my experience, try to meet people for the first time somewhere public and let your friends know who you are with so someone can be there if you feel uncomfortable. 

Part-time work

Working part time while you study offers a lot of benefits: You make some money, meet co-workers (chances are they are students too) and you can improve your social skills.

A customer facing job does wonders to build your confidence and ability to speak up when you need to. And of course, you can make friends through work as well!


Danila Petrova

Originally from Bulgaria, studied Digital Interaction Design.

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Student voice category Campus life, Socialising