Whether you're a new student in Dubai or you moved schools, here are some ideas to help you start building new friendships at school
21 September 2022| Last updated on 21 September 2022
The first day at school is always the hardest, you have to introduce yourself to many people and remember lots of names.
Starting a new school can be a little daunting and maybe even a bit scary, however, it can be a really exhilarating time. You can meet lots of people and make many new friends.
It’s a great opportunity to start fresh and make some great connections.
To help make that first day exciting rather than intimidating, the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai shared with us some tips for students of expat families on how to make friends at your new school.
1.) Introduce yourself and get chatting
For some people making new friends and chatting to new people comes naturally. If you’re a little more apprehensive about it, it can be really easy to sit back and wait for people to come to you, especially when people are in a crowd already chatting and making friends.
1. Introduce yourself.
The best thing is to start off by creating a good first impression by heading over to people and introducing yourself.
Try and make eye contact, don’t forget you are all in the same boat and there might be someone also feeling anxious about meeting new people. Making eye contact can give you an opportunity to connect and start a conversation.
2. Be open and friendly.
Don’t forget to smile, a little goes a long way. Simply smiling is scientifically proven to fire signals into the brain that stimulates your brain’s reward system which then releases endorphins, making not only the people getting the simile happier but your brain too!
When introducing yourself, make sure to speak clearly and say your name, try and remember their name to avoid having to ask again later on.
3. Don't just talk about yourself; ask questions.
Ask them questions about which classes they have, to see if you will be in any together and this can be a great way to find common interests if they enjoy the same subjects as you.
Ask about their home country. When you’re at an international school you will find yourself among many nationalities, some people may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by this and even a bit homesick if they are away from home for the first time.
Ask them about their home country this will give you both something to talk about that’s comforting and familiar to you both. It’s also a great way to find out a bit more about your new friend! Don’t forget to be respectful, different countries have different religions and traditions that may be different from yours.
2.) Sign up for afterschool clubs and activities
It takes time to make friends and not everyone will be friendly at first. This might be because they’re a bit shy, not interested in making friends, or generally just not someone you will connect well with - and it's important to understand that this is normal.
Joining in with after-school clubs and activities is a great way to develop friends. It’s an opportunity to meet people who may not be in the same classes as you but has the same interests, and you can spend time getting to know them.
By sharing a hobby, you have something to talk to them about.
3.) Spend time with your new friends
Once you've made it through introductions, don’t forget that socialising and spending time with your new friend is what helps maintain your relationship.
Socialising in school.
If you see someone you’ve been chatting to, call them over and sit with them during break times. The best time for making friends is at lunch as you can spend more time talking about out-of-school hobbies and interests without getting distracted in your classes.
Chat to your classmates, if you’ve been seated next to someone you don’t know, make an effort to ask them questions about the class or choose them as your pair in group projects.
Socialising outside of school.
If you take the same route to walk to school walk together, or perhaps you can sit next to each other on the same bus.
Try and meet with them outside of school, there are plenty of opportunities outside of school to meet and spend time with people.
Explore your local areas together, discovering places you can hang out at the weekend.
Socialising with fellow boarding housemates.
If you’re boarding at school, try and connect with your boarding housemates. You will be spending a lot of time with them which will allow you to make close friendships, quite possibly ones for life.
4.) Don't put on an act; be your authentic self
The most important part of making new friends is being yourself.
If you put on an act or change your interests just to make someone like you, it’s going to be harder in the future to maintain that friendship. The best friends you will make will most likely be like you, enjoy the same things, and act similarly. That being said opposites do attract so don’t be put off by someone if they don’t like all the same things that you do, we don’t all have to be the same!
Don’t be afraid to stand out. It can be hard at school when something is a little different, people may not always understand and that’s okay if you have a different hair color or wear a piece of religious clothing be proud of it. The more confident you are in yourself the more confident people will be in you. We are all unique so celebrate it!
Don’t worry about making best friends straight away, these things take time, and even change down the line, your friendship groups will adapt over time so take it slowly, be yourself, and overall, just enjoy making your new friends and spending time experiencing what your new school life has to offer.