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Three ways I made friends at TMU

By: Rena Chen
February 28, 2023

My name is Rena Chen, I’m a second-year Graphic Communications Management (GCM) student from China. I’m sharing my experience at TMU thus far and how I made friends as an international student!

Most university newcomers are concerned about making friends because their environment has changed drastically. You may be living  in Toronto for the first time, your class may have a larger number of students, so you are less likely to know each of them, and some students might already have a squad that you are afraid to join. 

It is normal to fear not making friends in school, especially when you haven’t adapted to the new environment yet in the first few months. Don’t worry, I will share my personal experience and tips on making friends as an international TMU student! 

1. Start a Conversation with Your Classmates 

This is probably the easiest way to find someone to connect with who may have similar interests as you.

What might surprise you is that you probably will have common hobbies! I’m majoring in Graphic Communications Management and as a second-year student, I found that most of my classmates are into graphic design, anime, drawing, photography etc. It is also a community where you will find someone with similar career pathways who might keep the same pace as you. Your classmates are even likely to become your colleagues in the future! 

Opportunities for you to talk with your classmates might be a group project assigned to you, during breaks, or even when you have questions about the class! Simply start the conversation with your classmates and see where it goes!

Rena and a friend posing for a photo wearing blue ram masks

2. Join a Social Event or a Student Union

TMU offers tons of events every single week through There are workshops for you to improve a specific skill, as well as social events to meet fellow students. . For example, TMU hosts a halloween party at the Student Learning Centre and they offer food, materials to draw, play music etc. Attending a social event is absolutely a good opportunity to meet new friends! You might want to ask for their social media to further connect. 

I highly recommend you attend your program’s Orientation! Firstly, you will get to learn more about your program and secondly, you can make friends! Making friends with a fellow new student is a mutual benefit  because everyone is excited about their upcoming adventures and want to find a companion to witness each other’s growth. 

The , TMU student Union (TMUSU), (external link)  fosters a  community through in-person and virtual activities. They also house student groups (external link)  that are created based on hobbies, such as Kpop Club, Anime, Sport, Photography etc. As a diverse school, TMU is home for many international students, and there are many student groups for various nationalities and backgrounds.  It’s beneficial for you to join these groups to share your thoughts and find your own identity. 

Rena holding a camera and taking photos during orientation week.

3.Find a Part-Time Job on campus

Toronto Metropolitan University offers plenty of jobs on campus for students. I’vetwo jobs at TMU, and I think it’s a good opportunity for making friends and earning money! 

I was an international peer supporter at ELI (English Language Institute) and had a strong connection with my colleagues, staff and students. We hosted many in-person social events, and I’ve built mutual understanding and long lasting friendly relations between myself and the people I met through this job.

Currently, I’m working at the International Enrolment Office  IEO as an International Student Ambassador! I’m a newcomer to the team, but my colleagues are all nice and patient in training and helping me. We also have social events for our team to hang out! It definitely helped us to know each other better. 

As an international student at TMU, there are lots of ways to make friends. Continue being yourself, keep an open mind and stay positive because you are on your own journey!

Photo collage of Rena with her colleagues at TMU.

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