Just moved to Melbourne? Study Melbourne Ambassador Pyper Savage provides advice on making friends, building your network and overcoming fears.

Words by Study Melbourne Ambassador Pyper Savage

I have moved a lot in my life. Six different schools, four different states in Australia, two different countries. When you are uprooted from the place that you call ‘home’, you have to create your own home.

I have struggled to make new friends, felt out of place and often told myself that I would be better off on my own. Yet every time I move, I end up making brilliant friends and building a close-knit community around me. Regardless of where I am, this influences who I am growing to be.

Community is the foundation of a home. You can find communities in many places: in your family, friends, colleagues or university. Moving to a new city can make some of these communities feel less close, especially if you moved away from friends and family.

Surrounding yourself with things that make you happy often creates your community in a new city. Melbourne is an especially brilliant city for this. There are lots of university clubs that you can join – sports clubs, volunteering options and student-led hobby groups. You can find these via social media, university notice boards and through word of mouth. I would encourage everyone to put themselves out there, trying not to be afraid of opening up to others!

I made a lot of friends through working. I know, however, that this is not an option for a lot of people. At university, I created my community by asking classmates to go for coffee to destress after big tutorials. This then became a routine. We became closer and would start seeing each other after uni.

You can also open yourself up to your friend’s friends. Many of my closest friends have come from meeting them through other friends. This removes a huge amount of pressure on finding people yourself and feeling like an outsider. Sometimes the best way to create your own community and family is to ask others for help. Simply saying “Hey! I’d love to meet some of your friends. We should do a games night on Saturday!” can change your whole social life.

Community is something you can create. Through opening yourself up to new experiences you can create strong bonds with others. Don’t be afraid of new people! And most importantly, don’t let yourself believe that you cannot make new networks. No matter how hard it gets, there will always be someone who cares very deeply about you and wants to see you thrive – let them see you thrive!