Berkeley student Yanire Gudino, who’s currently studying at the University of East Anglia, has really thrown herself into getting involved at UEA. Since coming to study abroad in January, she’s joined the International Student Society, the Social Society, the Latin American Student Society, and the Burlesque Society. She’s a busy girl! Read in Yanire’s own words about how she’s found the society life at UEA…
Coming into the University of East Anglia I signed up for more societies than I really thought I could join, but I’d encourage others to do the same thing. Going to university in a smaller town does not mean you’re missing out on trying new experiences, but it might mean you’ll have to put in effort to look for opportunities.
Looking through the school’s website on sports and societies can seem overwhelming, but if you take your time you will end up finding things that spark your interest. It really helped for me to go to a fair and get to introduce myself to the different groups and see where I felt comfortable.
Joining societies was just a great way to jump into a new group of people and find common ground through a shared interest. Even if that means just going to the socials and learning about the community around you, one person’s story at a time. I tried a variety of things, like joining the International Student Society to Burlesque Society. Some were to feel comfortable in a new space, but the most rewarding ones were the ones where I pushed myself to do something I would have never thought to do at home.
Being taught burlesque moves and watching their shows is really about bringing more excitement to my university experience. I also walked for a fundraiser fashion for another society, KAOS (Kids Action Overseas) and it was great to feel like I was part of something big. I got to dress up and get my hair done and just enjoy the show environment with other people that liked the same things I did, but that I might not have ever met otherwise. We’re all here for a short time and it is good to remind yourself to break out of your comfort zone for a while.
It has also just been good to find different activities through the societies and go out a few nights with them. Sometimes it isn’t about things that will stay with you for life, but learning to enjoy things day by day and allowing people to brighten your time for a moment.