Author: Ana Alibegova

Living in a dormitory can sometimes be the best option: you have plenty of opportunity to meet a lot of new people, to experience a proper student life and to party on the weekends. But, if you prefer to study hard, sometimes the noise echoing from the corridors can be a problem for you. However, nobody can deny the fact that living in a dorm is the best option for international students, first and foremost because it is cheaper and secondly you will have some friends around whenever you start feeling homesick. So, if your choice is a student dormitory, then you should not forget to:

1. Go to a student’s party

This is a must. You haven’t been abroad, if you haven’t been to a student’s party. Cheap drinks, loud music, cool atmosphere and a lot of young people – these are the first associations that pop up in my mind when it comes to student parties. Especially popular are the thematic parties, you may go to a pyjama party, a traffic light party (where people in a relationship wear red, the ones in an open relationship wear yellow and the singles wear green), a Halloween party, etc. If you are an international student or an intern in Germany, during the carnival season in February, be sure to visit some of the dorm bars, especially in the North-Rhein Westfallen region. The student parties are well know for being events where you can get to know a lot of people, but be sure that you are completely sober so that you able to memorize everybody’s phone numbers. The Erasmus student parties enjoy great popularity, attracting a lot of international students at one place. So, the conclusion would be: you shouldn’t miss out on a student’s party!

2. Organize an international evening

If there is no cultural mentor responsible for your dormitory or some person with similar organizational skills for preparing and hosting events, be the first one to cross the line! An international evening is a great opportunity for people from the dorm to present the country they come from. Not only that you can taste various foods and drinks, you can also learn something about some more or less exotic cultures. An international night can be organized both with national drinks and dishes. It would make an even bigger impression if the participants are dressed in their national costumes, so that they would be able to present their customs better. When preparing for the international night, try to cook some national dish, but don’t be upset if somebody says that he / she doesn’t like your small “masterpiece”. Each tradition is unique and you should be aware that some people may find that your baked beans are not as delicious the fried bananas from the Japanese guy.

3. Make a barbecue party

The best party in the world! Lots of meat, tons of beer, happy people filling their stomachs. Organizing a BBQ party, you can be almost 100 % sure that a lot of people will show up. It’s not only about the food; it’s about the whole preparation and cooking as well. A barbecue party means making a list of things you should buy, going to the supermarket, buying food and drinks, finding the best grill masters and preparing the meat. While organizing the whole thing you will meet a lot of new (mostly hungry?) people. Students are always enthusiastic when it comes to BBQ, because it is a good way to have fun and not eat alone. Enjoying the smell of the grill and the crowd in the dorm’s garden, you almost instantly make thousands of friends.

4. Go on a small excursion with you flat mates

Never forget that in a dorm, there are always international students just like you, waiting for somebody to organize something for them and to meet new people. The key to success is to be open-minded, full of positive energy and communicative. Approach people in the dorm, introduce yourself and smile – these are the best ways to make friends. If you live in a dormitory, you can realize your traveling ideas, because the company is almost always guaranteed. The best thing is that in a dorm you can find a lot of students ready to explore the neighborhood or to “jump to” the next city. Finding a group of travelers is not difficult at all, you just need to “publish” your idea. Try using the front door and put small advertisement like “Vienna – tour, Sunday, 10 am in front of the dorm”. A lot of students who were hiding in their rooms will find the courage and join you, because they will be traveling in a group, and because traveling during the weekends is much cheaper. The excursion can include a lot of things: climbing, running, and sightseeing, going for a coffee in the city centre, or just lying on the grass in the park.

5. Cook something for your friends

You have no idea how cooking can connect people! In the afternoon, when your classes are over or you’ve just come back from work, you can prepare some food for your friends. A really nice gesture that will bring you pleasure and your tired friends will love it for sure. It is a good way to show people that you care about them as well as a good way to get to know new people. Be sure that at least three people will come in the common kitchen and ask you what you are cooking. By giving your answer, you strike up a conversation, and after some time a friendship is born!

6. Fall in love

Last, but not least. Almost every international student has got this bit in his/her ‘CV’ – a summer fling or a long lasting love, all exchange students have something to share and gossip about with their best friends. If you are single, this student’s life will put an end to your loneliness and if you are in a relationship, you have to be very careful, because single students in search of a partner are everywhere. If you fall in love, don’t take it too seriously, because international students not always plan long and lasing relationships, they have to go back to their home country eventually. Anyway, try to stay relaxed and experience as much as you can, whether it’s a student’s party till the early morning, or just eating together with your dorm friends in the nearby restaurant. The time spent abroad with friends from all over the world is an experience of a lifetime!

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