International friends get real at O’Week

International students Shreya, Ronali and Erica

International students (left to right) Shreya, Ronali and Erica at O'Week.

It is a modern version of that pen pal fantasy, where you finally make the journey to meet the people you have been communicating with for so long, and find they truly are your “besties”.

For international science students, Erica Emmanuel, Ronali Fernando and Shreya Agarwala, learning online over the past 12 months was made so much more doable because of an online friendship between the trio – each studying at the University of Adelaide from their homes in Dubai, New Delhi, and Sri Lanka.

“When we had our online orientation in 2021, there was a special university page set up where we were encouraged to introduce ourselves and that is where I met Ronali,” Erica says.

“We then connected on Instagram and a bit later we both got to know Shreya because some of the subjects we were studying were the same.”

Twelve months on and finally on campus together at University orientation or O’Week, which runs from 21 to 25 February, the three have decided to share accommodation and the adventure of getting to know the campus and the city of Adelaide.

“It has been so exciting,” Ronali says.

“We landed in Adelaide knowing we already had a bunch of friends and that made the transition to being on campus so much easier.

“All the things we talked online about doing when we got here, we have been able to do together – checking out the campus, the library, the Hub, even the Fringe Festival. This past week in Adelaide has been amazing.”

Shreya from New Delhi says the two big surprises about Adelaide have been environmental.

“I wasn’t expecting Adelaide to be cold, it gets cold at night, but the sun in the daytime is very nice and I am glad for that,” she says.

“And the stars, the stars at night are really beautiful.”

She says meeting so many new people has been fantastic.

“The Australian students I have met here have been really warm and welcoming.”

Orientation week is when new students make the most of their time ahead at university. They connect with their peers, mentors and academics, settle into university life and discover the full range of services to support them through their university journey.

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