Moving to a new town for college can be both scary and exciting. Although you’re moving away from everything that is familiar to you, you also get to meet so many people and try new things. We’ve compiled some tips so you’ll be all set to explore your college town so that you’ll soon feel it’s your home away from home!
1. Don’t be afraid to try new restaurants
Wherever you choose to go for college, there are most likely a plethora of restaurants around your campus. Whether it’s fast food or a sit down restaurant, it’s the perfect place to go hang out with your friends and eat something besides dining hall food—which after awhile can get pretty repetitive. If your new roommate wants to try Thai food but you’ve never had it before, say yes! Trying new foods in college is a great way to expand your horizons and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite food!
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2. Take a walk in local parks around town
Depending where you go to school, your town will probably have some parks nearby and even some hiking trails. Take some time on the weekend and take a peaceful walk, away from all the stress from your classes. If you own a bike, grab your bike and head to local trails. Some schools also have bikes that you could rent. If you live in a college city there are often bike companies around that have stations where you can rent a bike for a couple hours. If you’re going to school far away from home, you may be surprised by the vastly different landscapes all across the U.S. – take this opportunity to go explore it!
3. Become friends with an upperclassman
Often times, the clubs and organizations you join at school will help you meet students from all different grades. Upperclassmen have been where you are right now. They know the ins and outs of required classes, how to live with a roommate and all the cool places to go around town. Often times upperclassmen have cars on campus and might even be willing to show you around. If you’re having trouble meeting someone whose a bit older, you can also talk to your resident assistant who is a great resource.
4. Check out bulletin boards around campus
Make sure you take a look at the bulletin boards hanging up around campus. A lot of times, you can find them in your dorm, in the student center and scattered around academic buildings. Clubs and organizations often host events that are held off campus and is a great way to get to know other people and get off campus and explore your college town. If you’re nervous to go on an outing with people you don’t know, ask your roommate or a friend from class to join!
5. Take public transportation or a shuttle
Some colleges offer transportation for students provided by the University. You can take a shuttle to the grocery store or even to a nearby city. Schools that have shuttles usually have a shuttle schedule posted on their website or around campus. Zipcars are also a popular mode of transportation if you have your license. Nowadays, many students resort to Uber or Lyft to get them from point A to B which also is a great option. If you live in a major city, public transportation is a great way to check out the locals and get to where you want to go quickly.
6. Take a fitness class off campus
The freshman fifteen is a real fear for many college students. Get ahead of the game and sign up for a fitness class in your town. Not only is it a great opportunity to meet locals and people in the community, you’ll also get some exercise and a break from the stress of classes. Make sure you ask if they have a student discount because many fitness studios offer students a discount on fitness classes!
7. Go to Main Street with friends
One of the best ways to experience the town or city that you’ll be living in for the next four years is to head right to the heart of it! Grab your friends and take a short trip to the main street in your town. This is usually where all the good restaurants, movie theaters and ice cream shops are. There also might be grocery stores and drugstores so if you need to pick up some snacks its super convenient. If you’re trying to get a feel for the town, this is the place to go.
8. Get an off-campus job
If you’re looking to make some extra money while you’re in college, getting a job or internship is the way to go. If you’re having trouble getting an internship, check out your university’s career services office and see if they’ve heard of any opportunities around town. They can be a great resource to go to if you’re struggling to find a job, especially your first year. There are also plenty of stores around town that might have applications or “we’re hiring” signs so make sure you look out for those.
9. Volunteer in the community
Many schools have programs or organizations on campus that provide students the chance to do volunteer work within the community. Keep an eye out for groups like Habitat for Humanity or tutoring opportunities. Volunteering within the community is a great chance to meet locals and spend time helping those in need. You can also check your university’s website and see if they have any service programs that you can join.
10. Go to Town Events
Throughout the year there are probably going to be a variety of events within the surrounding area around your college or university. Things like holiday parades, carnivals and sports games are fun events that you and a group of friends can attend relatively cheap. You’ll feel more connected to your college town and get to attend events that you might have been missing from home.
Of course, if you ever get homesick for your own town or family you can always snag a cheap flight from StudentUniverse.