Student Resources
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How to find your tribe at university for the best student experience

EHL Insights
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  • Finding your tribe at university is beneficial for both academic achievement and emotional well-being. It’s a determining factor for success at university.
  • There are many things you can do to proactively find your tribe mates and create your tribe. The right mindset and an active lifestyle help a lot.
  • International university environments are more beneficial to tribe-making and open you up to a more global network with better soft skills.


University is an exciting time, but it can also be socially daunting. With thousands of students arriving and mingling on campus, you might find it hard to find your place. So you should start by finding your tribe.

Your “tribe” is a group of people who share your values and interests and who make you feel supported, understood, and encouraged. And having a tribe at university is essential to get the most out of your college life experience.Indeed, a recent study shows that students who form close-knit relationships in college are more likely to be academically successful and graduate on schedule.

Here’s what tribes are all about, plus the best ways to find your tribe and get the most out of campus life.


The importance of tribes

University is a time of growth and self-discovery, and one of the most significant aspects of this experience is the friendships you make. Your university friends can become some of the most influential people in your life, providing support, guidance, and a sense of community. But the benefits of university friendships don't stop there. In fact, the connections you make during your time on campus can have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life long after graduation. Here are three main benefits of finding, or cultivating, your tribe at university.


Networking: One of the most significant benefits of university friendships is the potential for networking. Your friends might be your future colleagues, or they can connect you with job opportunities in your field. By building strong relationships with your peers, you're creating a network of support and connections that can help you throughout your career.

Support: Your friends can also be a source of emotional support during challenging times. Whether you're struggling with coursework, dealing with a personal crisis, or just feeling overwhelmed, having a supportive group of friends can make all the difference. Your university friends can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a much-needed distraction when you need it most.

Exposure: Of course, the benefits of university friendships aren't just practical or emotional. Your friends can also help you grow as a person and expand your horizons. By exposing you to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences, your university friends can broaden your worldview and challenge your assumptions. They can introduce you to new hobbies, interests, and passions, and help you develop a more well-rounded sense of self.

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10 tips for finding your tribe at university

1. Participate in pre-arrival & orientation activities

The quicker you find your tribe, the sooner you’ll be making your university experience much more fulfilling. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there right away!

Before you even arrive on campus, once you’re enrolled, it’s time to start exploring your new university community. The onboarding process is unique to each university, but it usually includes some social media channels, opportunities to chat with students in your program, emails from campus life staff, guided tours, and opportunities to get to know the diverse social clubs and committees. These pre-arrival activities are the easiest way to begin your hunt for the future members of your perfect tribe.

The first week on campus is always full of opportunities to meet new people. Make an effort to participate in all the welcome drinks, ice-breaking activities, tours, meet-ups, and information sessions available to you so you can see who’s out there and start making friends with people who share your interests.

2. Join a student committee

Universities usually have a wide variety of clubs and committees based on student interests and activities, and these are the perfect place to find members of your tribe. At the start of each semester, student clubs and committees often host stands and intro sessions to attract new members. These groups give you the opportunity to:


Meet people from diverse backgrounds. On average, EHL has students of over 120 nationalities on campus, and student clubs are the ideal way to make friends with people from all over the world.

Access resources and support systems. For example, EHL has committees that cater to specific interests or needs, such as sports, student support groups, or career development clubs.

Develop important life skills. In student committees, you may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, which can help you build your communication and organization skills. You also learn how to work effectively in teams, which is a valuable skill in any career.

Have a lot of fun. You’ll be able to organize and attend social events, such as parties, concerts, and sporting events. These events can be a great way to meet new people and create lasting memories.

3. Get into volunteer groups & events

Volunteers are always appreciated and being a volunteer puts you in touch with other service-minded individuals who share your value of giving back and helping out. Plus, you can choose to volunteer in an area that is of particular value to you, such as sustainability and ecology efforts on campus, donations to charity associations, or mental health support groups.

4. Attend extracurricular lectures and discussions on topics that interest you

Most universities have a very busy schedule every semester featuring industry events, special guest lectures, international company visits, conferences and forums where people gather to listen to the latest insights on topics of interest and to exchange ideas and opinions about the subject. You should check out the events scheduled on campus and plan ahead to make time for some of these events when possible.

5. Connect with roommates, flatmates, etc.

One big advantage of living in student accommodation buildings is the intimacy it immediately creates between roommates, flatmates, or neighbors.

Do your best to remember names, be an active listener, and learn all about the people you meet in your immediate life circle. Even if you don’t seem to have much in common at first glance, as you may have different views and backgrounds or cultures, you may find that you can discover new things together down the line. Hosting little potluck dinners and game nights in your building’s garden or common area is a great way to start discussions and friendships.

6. Use social media to find groups, events and outings

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget to use the simplest tools first. If you have a free moment or want to plan something for the weekend, then the school’s official social media channel, and those of the student groups, are the best place to start.

Student sports coordinators and student groups also plan and post about discovery outings for water sports, theme parks, regional hiking, and winter snow sports.

7. Attend networking events hosted by your program or faculty

It’s important not to miss out on networking events related to your program of study because these events bring like-minded people together. Getting to know alumni, industry partners, and students from other program years is a good way to expand your circle and make connections with people who can later help you in your job hunts, travels, and relocation.

8. Get out of your comfort zone

University is the perfect time to try new things and doing so is very good for your emotional and mental health because our human brains crave novelty. Plus, having exciting new adventures is a great way to bond with people who you might not have met otherwise. So look outside of your usual hobbies and make an effort to try at least a few new sports or cultural activities while at university. Take weekend trips to discover the region and try some local customs and delicacies. Don’t limit yourself, and let your sense of curiosity guide you.

9. Don’t get discouraged and be proactive

If you don’t happen to meet the perfect tribe within the first weeks or months on campus, don’t despair. It takes time to build a solid social network, but you can do a lot to accelerate the process. First, you have to be proactive and keep putting yourself out there to meet people and try new things. If you’re having trouble getting started, go back to square one and look at the student clubs and events you haven’t yet tried. And if you really feel lost, then just reach out to a student counselor or someone working in the student affairs department for help and suggestions.

10. Be true to yourself

While trying new things and making new friends is important, not everything and everyone will be the right fit for you. And you certainly don’t want to compromise on your values or fall into unhealthy relationships for lack of something better to do. Remember to always be true to your instincts and integrity when considering what activities to do and what invitations you accept. Your tribe has to be people who make you feel safe, valued, and respected.

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Finding your tribe at EHL: What makes a difference

As a top-ranking international hospitality management school, EHL is not your typical university environment. It’s a fast-growing international education group with around 4’000 students, 3 campuses (two in Switzerland and one in Singapore), and over 30’000 alumni worldwide.

The thing that gives EHL its identity, is the school’s incredible capacity to nurture human connections. In short, it’s about people. It’s a unique educational ecosystem that nurtures collaborative learning and tribe-making.

Here’s how finding your tribe at EHL may be a little different from other universities, owing to EHL’s unique traditions, the campus facilities and location, the learning methods, and the international community. 


Extraordinary campus facilities

EHL’s new campus in Lausanne creates an ideal environment for students, faculty, and external visitors to make outstanding connections. The physical environment on campus is designed around the way students, faculty and industry professionals are encouraged to interact in the same spaces.

The wide-open central building, where you can see end-to-end, is interspaced with many smaller gathering spaces that are cleverly designed for meetings and study sessions. And many of the campus restaurants and kitchens are also learning facilities. They are walled in glass and used as experiential classrooms for preparatory-year students. This transparency generates a sense of open community and encourages connections and exchanges.

The advantage for your tribe: this campus design gives you a chance to see everything that’s going on, who’s doing what, and where the action is, very easily. It’s always buzzing with events and activities that you, and your new tribe members, can get involved in.


Highly diverse student body

Often times when people think of finding their tribe, they imagine meeting people like themselves. But that is far from the case here at EHL, where tribes are made up of people from around the world. With around 4,000 students and an average of 120 student nationalities on campus at any given time, it’s probably going to be difficult to find anyone exactly like you.

That’s because EHL students are highly diverse, coming from all walks of life and nearly every region of the world. So when you build your tribe at EHL, you’ll be connecting with people who share your values and interests in a global way, making deeper connections that go beyond your love of sports, your nationality, and your native culture.

The advantage for your tribe: is creating a social group that expands your horizons exponentially. With every friend, comes exposure to a world of cultural knowledge, opportunities for adventure, and future international connections for your career and social life.


Experiential & social learning

EHL’s holistic approach to learning gives students not only academic and technical skills, but so-called ‘soft’ skills, such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving, customer service and public speaking. Students develop these skills in two basic ways.

Experiential education - Learning from experience involves being open to new situations and perspectives, integrating these ideas, and being able to experiment in real-world situations. For EHL bachelor’s degree students, during the initial six-month immersion in hospitality on campus and subsequent real-world internship, they get their hands dirty in all facets of the industry, and emerge with more empathy for people in all areas of work and school.

A social learning context - Learning is a social process, and to be successful at EHL and in the business world, students learn to work together throughout their studies. Frequent group work encourages students to work as part of a team, building their collaborative mindset and cultural agility. They are also taught the value of networking and given plenty of opportunities to practice it.

The advantage for your tribe: If you’re not yet comfortable making new friends and meeting new people, then at EHL, you’ll get used to it fast. And if you’re already a social ace, then this setting will strengthen your skills and expand your influence.

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