Each year, universities share helpful tips for settling in as an international student, with advice such as “play in a sports team” or “attend a social night”. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic a lot has changed as we practice social distancing to keep the LJMU community safe. As John Moores Students’ Union say, Freshers’ isn’t cancelled, it’s just different. So here are a couple of alternative ways to help you to settle into university as an international student during times of COIVD-19.

Join chat groups on Campus Connect

Campus Connect is an app designed specifically for international students and UK/EU Postgraduate students to get to know each other. Join chat groups based on where you are from, what you are studying, and your interests. There is even a chat group for students currently self-isolating, so you can always talk to somebody who understands you. Chatting on Campus Connect is a great way to meet people you have something in common with, as well as current LJMU students who are always happy to help. Find the invite code in your offer letter to join.

Explore your new home virtually

In normal circumstances you would be able to attend group walking tours, but to practice social distancing JMSU are hosting virtual walking tours of Liverpool over on their Instagram @johnmooressu. So even if you are self-isolating, or haven’t managed to travel to Liverpool yet, you can find your bearings through your phone. And when your self-isolation period is over, you can step outside and explore the city for yourself. Why not invite your new flatmates along? See JMSU’s list of upcoming events.

There is lots to see here in Liverpool, like our UNESCO World Heritage site waterfront, historic William Brown Street and trendy Baltic Triangle area, plus of course the shops and restaurants dotted around Liverpool ONE, Ropewalks and the Georgian Quarter. Use our city guide to plan your Liverpool adventures – it’s certainly something to look forward to.

Join in with JMSU’s virtual welcome activities

We might not have a physical freshers’ fair this semester, but JMSU are pulling out all the stops to give you the best online freshers’ experience possible. There’s zoom hangouts, online dance classes, virtual quizzes with celebrity hosts, scrunchie making workshops…the list goes on. There really is something for everyone, and you can join in all from the comfort of your new home. 

Freshers is a great time to learn more about all of the clubs and societies JMSU have to offer and get involved with a cause you’re passionate about. You don’t have to be interested in sports to join, you can sign up to the fashion society, the vegan and vegetarian society, the BAME student network, the international society, LGBT+ society and more. Find an event you want to (virtually) attend on the JMSU website.

Get involved with your local community

Liverpool is a close knit city and has lots of local communities within it. Of course there’s the student community (which includes you!) – but there’s much more. When you are no longer self-isolating, get out there to Liverpool’s independent local shops and cafes and have a chat. Scousers are known for their friendliness after all… You can also volunteer with the local community, working with different organisations such as homeless charities, local hospitals or Liverpool Football Club Foundation. Learn more about volunteering at LJMU.

Ask for help

Moving to university can be daunting at the best of times, so it is understandable if you may be feeling more homesick than usual. If you are struggling, please don’t try and deal with it on your own, we are here to help. LJMU’s Student Advice and Wellbeing team are dedicated to helping LJMU students through many things. You can go to them for money advice, counselling, or just a chat about settling in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.