Making friends during the pandemic

​This is how I managed to find friends and community at Chalmers despite the pandemic. Here are my best tips and tricks!
Sena with her friend smiling

It is useful to divide the story of the social life I have established in my life in Gothenburg into two periods: What I did before I came to Sweden and what I did afterward. I’ve been an orienteering team athlete in college and participated in the various communities in Turkey where I had a lively social life. When I was doing my research for Chalmers and checking the student societies, I thought I could establish such an environment in Gothenburg too. The first thing I did was to research the activities of the communities relevant to my interests and access their contact information.

 To do this, I’ve simply googled keywords like orienteering team in Chalmers, social life at Chalmers University, and Gothenburg… Then the home page led me to Chalmers web page, some student communities Facebook pages, and Gothenburg city pages. During this process, I noticed that Swedes are using Facebook very actively and that they usually answer their messages pretty quickly. I must admit that the people who entered my life in this way exceeded my expectations. Some of them even asked me questions! For example if I had found a place to stay, when I would arrive to Gothenburg or if I needed any help. These interactions made me very happy. My first social circle was formed: new teammates, mostly Swedes.

Another reasonable move I made before I came to Sweden was to contact other Chalmers students onSena with her friend in the street
Unibuddy or graduates from my own country. While I was in Turkey, I asked my friends if they had any friends or relatives that are/were studying in Sweden. I wanted to learn about both Gothenburg life and the Chalmers education system from the perspective of one of my citizens. I started to communicate with these people with questions such as what their student life was like, what I should bring with me, how did the pandemic affect student life. Then our conversations turned into me listening to their memories about studying at Chalmers and living in Gothenburg. This is how I became friends with many of them before I came! We decided to get fika to talk more when I arrived at Gothenburg. So our communication continued after I arrived, and they introduced me to their social circles. As a result, my second and third social circles were formed: My friends from my country and their friends from other countries!

The pandemic restrictions mostly affect indoor activities, but outdoor activities are very popular here in Gothenburg. Regardless of the weather, you can always see people going for a run outside, hiking in the natural parks, cycling, or having a barbecue. That is the advantages of living in a city surrounded by nature during the pandemic.

So how did I expand my social circle after coming here? First, I realized that other international students were in the same situation as me. So, most of us are new here, everyone wants to make friends. For this reason, it
is very unlikely that a short walk or fika offer would be rejected. When you invite someone to an activity, the next offer is very likely to come from him or her. Most of the time, when you consider other offers, you are very likely to meet your friends’ friends. If you are an introverted person and aren’t active in inviting others, don’t worry though. Just think before rejecting any offers that might come your way 😊 This led me to the fourth social circle: Friends of my friends from other countries!

Finally, social media groups and activities. There are several groups in Sweden for people from other countries that you can find, specifically on Facebook. Moreover, they are surprisingly active. During the pandemic period, they continue their activities, most of them online, and are open to everyone. If you are staying in a student housing, you can join a Facebook group to chat with others who live in the same building. Do not forget to sign up because there will always be someone inviting you for a fika. The last social circle for now: My friends from social media platforms!

Picture of ambassador(Sena)

Author: Sena

Page manager Published: Wed 19 May 2021.