Messages from the ISS- International Student Support

Tips on how to connect to fellow students

Lea Krusemeyer (She/Her) / Contributor

Who does not know this feeling, the semester has begun and you are in your fourth week of classes and still do not know anyone. It seems like all the students around you magically managed to find friends and decode the key to making connections. You, on the other hand, still sit alone in class or in the cafeteria. Let’s change that.

The cliches are true, Canadian people are friendly and approachable. If you see someone in the library wearing a cool shirt, just go up to them and give them a compliment. If someone is walking around with a coffee and you really want one but do not know where to go, ask the person. In almost every case, the people will be friendly and helpful and maybe a friendship could develop out of one simple interaction.

Coming from different cultures, that is not always the easiest thing to do and just randomly approaching someone might sound odd to you, but believe me when I say it is worth trying. In the rare few cases where people are unwilling to engage in a conversation with you, do not feel discouraged. Not everyone has to be friends, and with every person you approach you practice your confidence. If that still sounds like something that is too scary to do, there are other ways to make connections as well, do not worry. 

For example, connecting through events that CapU is organizing. If you follow the various Instagram pages that Cap has, you can see that there is something happening at all times. An event for international students, an event for women, something for people who are into movies – there are events for all kinds of people. Going to events like these helped me a lot because I already had something in common with the people I met, we shared an interest. 

Another option, and one that seems rather obvious, is spending time on campus. If you feel like you cannot connect, the first instinct often is leaving and spending your time elsewhere, but that is only enhancing your situation further. If you spend time on campus, in the library or actually attending your classes, you will see that CapU is a rather small community. We run into each other on campus all the time here and let’s be honest, after you ran into someone five times or more you would start a conversation and possibly make a new connection that way. 

If you want to engage more into the field of study you are in, there also is the option of approaching your professor. They are usually the ones who are well informed about on and off campus events that have a connection to your field. Attending one of those events helps you connect with fellow students and other professionals in your field of study and area of interest. Those connections might not immediately turn into friendships but you can use them to network and possibly invest in your future. 

Another approach that is more connected to studying is building or joining a study group. It is effective and also more fun to study with other people. You can ask questions, help each other out and even go for coffee breaks in between. Forming or joining one of those groups can help you build connections to fellow students. The first step would be to find other students in your courses that are potentially interested, just ask around or maybe get a professor involved to help you reach the class. After that it is just a matter of consistency and good scheduling to find dates and time to meet. 

From my own experience as a CapU student I can say that study groups helped me a lot with connecting to people and building friendships with my fellow students. 

I am not saying finding friends here is the easiest thing to do but I am saying that trying is not hard. There are many many opportunities and once you overcome your initial fear of rejection, the doors to a community of friends are wide open for you here at CapU. No one needs to spend their breaks or semester alone. 

Resources to connect: @capilanoucie (for international students)



  There are Facebook Groups for the individual degrees as well, just look for CapU and your degree in the Facebook search bar

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