Orientation Week (or O-Week for short) is a week of events and activities that kicks off the academic year at educational institutions around Australia. O-Week is usually held at both the start and middle of the year and involves things like games, live music, free food, campus tours and parties to help students settle in and socialise. If you’re starting university or college for the first time, O-Week is an especially good chance to get to know your new home and meet new people.
To help you make new connections during O-Week, we’ve put together a guide to getting out there and meeting like-minded students.
Find out what’s on
Your educational institution should email you all the details on O-Week a couple of weeks in advance. You can also check your student association’s Facebook page for up-to-date information. If you live in student accommodation, there will likely be events happening there too, so ask the staff or your RA (resident assistant) if you’re in doubt.
During O-Week, there will usually be something scheduled in the morning, afternoon and night from Monday to Friday, so you’ll have plenty of options to suit your tastes. By checking out what’s on beforehand, making a solid itinerary and attending an event, meet-up or tour that fits your interests, you’re bound to meet plenty of like-minded people.
Take a tour
One of the most useful parts of O-Week is the campus tour. Australian educational institutions can be huge, with lots of different buildings spread out across the campus. Each educational institution will do things differently, but many will offer tours of the campus, as well as local restaurants and bars, or even a guided walk to the supermarket.
Believe us, you’ll thank yourself in week one when you arrive on time for all your classes. On the tour, you might even meet people who live or study in the same places as you, or you’ll find out about great spots around the city where you can take your new friends.
Join a club
During O-Week, you’ll come across dozens of clubs and societies. If you’re interested in a particular sport or hobby, there’s probably a club for that. There may also be a group for people from your home country or who speak your native language. If you can’t find a club on a particular topic, you could even start one yourself!
There are also associations for international students, women, and ethnoculturally and linguistically diverse students. These are all excellent places to make friends who share your interests or background.
Explore the city
O-Week isn’t just confined to the university campus. In Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, you can attend the Lord Mayor’s official welcome for international students to meet people from other institutions.
In Canberra, all students are introduced to the city at an official Student Welcome event that coincides with the free arts and culture festival, Enlighten.
International students studying in Perth are welcomed by the Governor of Western Australia with a barbecue and performances by local students.
Brisbane-based international students can mingle at the City Welcome Festival during O-Week.
Local cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs and other businesses may also offer special discounts or events during O-Week, so keep an eye out around the city.
Whether you use WhatsApp, social media, texting or even the old-fashioned phone call, you’re going to need some way to stay in touch with your new friends. Make sure to grab their Australian phone number, Instagram or Twitter handle, Facebook name or email address so you can maintain your new connections once O-Week wraps up.
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