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Seniors’ tips to freshmen on making friends

New to NTU? Seniors share tried-and-tested ways to break the ice

Ask for help

In class, ask your neighbour a question. Even a simple “Can you explain this to me?” will help you connect. Don’t be afraid to ask! – Suffian Bin Jasman, final-year mechanical and aerospace engineering student

Join the crowd

Bond over late-night meetings and steamboat sessions. The friendship will stick after a heart-to-heart talk. – Amanda Yong, final-year public policy and global affairs student

Explore the different food options around NTU together. It’ll be fun since the campus is huge! – Kylie Sng, final-year communication student

Find common ground

Find a common topic. If the lesson seems tough, don’t be afraid to say that out loud. The person beside you is likely to agree and you can get the conversation going. – Matthew Tan, final-year materials science and engineering student

Give a sincere compliment on something that you like about the other person, such as his or her outfit, bag or hairstyle. That will break the ice for sure. – Ng Zi En, final-year chemistry and biological chemistry student

Be a print pal

Ask your classmates if they need help to print their lecture notes when you’re printing yours. Being helpful is a surefire way to make friends. – Dharmen Rupawala, final-year chemical and biomolecular engineering student

Stamp your style

Have your own signature look or item, for example, an eye-catching pair of glasses or a unique jacket. It is very likely someone will ask you about it eventually. – Anthony Lee, third-year materials engineering student

Be a good listener. Don’t feel a need to rush into conversations with people, especially if you’re introverted. Take your time to warm up to different people and give them time to warm up to you too. – Alissa Ong, final-year maritime studies student

Be the ride one

If you drive, offer to give someone a lift to the MRT station, or simply ask if anyone wants a ride with you to school. – Foo Kaien, third-year electrical and electronic engineering student


If you catch someone’s eye, just smile. If the person smiles back, say “hi”. Keep doing that whenever you see this person, and soon you’ll be fast friends. – Grace Tan, final-year business student

Sign up for university activities or volunteer in special interest groups or on organising committees. Whether it’s lending your skills to making a hall event or college run a success, or helping to organise NTU Fest with your peers, you’ll be in the company of new friends bringing wonderful plans to fruition.” – Dr Ng Chun Kiat, Class of 2013

Pack a punch

Offer to take away food from the canteen for your new friends if they seem really busy. They’ll appreciate this small gesture for sure. – Leslie Tay, third-year mechanical and aerospace engineering student

Tag ’em on social media

Take a quick video of the people you’re hanging out with at the orientation camp, and ask to tag them in your Instagram stories. You’ll have a conversation starter the next time you see them! – Ong Ying Yi, third-year Chinese studies student

Do a minor or second major, instead of many one-off elective modules, to meet friends with strong, common interests who you can easily talk to. – Aloysius Boh, Class of 2016

If you stay in hall, midnight suppers are a must-go. Sacrifice sleep if you must, because something about a hearty, late-night meal helps everyone become close. – Wayne Wong, final-year sociology student