One of my best memories from my first year at UEA is Freshers’ Week. Not because of the LCR and clubbing nights, but because of the incredibly varied events the university organised.
As an EU student, the UK drinking culture initially surprised me. My previous classmates liked to go out, but I never had alcohol at home, and many British students seem to love drinking.
I didn’t really discover this until later into Freshers’, and remained blissfully ignorant for the first few days, when only international students were on campus. This was an amazing time for me to not only make friends, but to get started on what would become my ceaseless hunt for strange, low-key events around Norwich. One student society organised a free taxi ride for internationals to go roller-skating in town, which turned into a bit of a tradition. I still take my friends roller-skating (and I do wish we got a free taxi ride every time). There were events put on day and night, ranging from chilled barbeque socials to food fairs and oddly specific group discussions.
Freshers’ is also enjoyable outside of clubs. One event I went to early on in the academic year was Sink the Pink, a drag themed club night at the LCR with live performances. People were drinking, but the music was good regardless, and the performers kept everyone entertained whether drunk or sober. I’ve had similar experiences clubbing in town since, never feeling the need to be drunk.
So is Freshers’ enjoyable without drinking? With the friends who are on the same page as you, people who are there to dance and have a good time, and with the right music and mood, it absolutely is. And, despite what people may tell you, it’s not all about clubbing.