Why join a club or society at university

Nutta-uea from Thailand smiling in front of campus

Nutta-uea from Thailand studied the International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering at the International Study Centre, before progressing to Durham University to study BSc (Hons) Chemistry. But outside of the classroom, she made the most of her study abroad experience by joining clubs and societies. Find out more in her blog!

It would not be a full university experience if you do not take part in at least one sport or society offered by your College or the University. There are many activities you can take part in – such as social clubs, sport, volunteering, arts, music etc. It is a good place to spend your free time, expand your social circle and even find your new passion. It does not matter if you are a complete beginner or a professional, the University offers activities for people of all abilities. 

At the beginning of the academic year, your College and the University will organise a Freshers Fair where you can discover your interests and learn about the different clubs on offer. This is also where you can sign up for sport trials and taster sessions, or simply get more information about the clubs you’re interested in. These events occur in the induction week for two days where classes have not officially started – so you have a chance to look at the Fair. Also, you do not have to be a fresher to sign up – you can join a club in any year of study. 

As an active person, I need a place where I can relieve my stress from studying and to remain healthy. The sports that I participate in are hockey, judo and baseball & softball. I play hockey for Trevelyan College as a goalkeeper. Before the pandemic, we would play a game once a week at Maiden Castle, as well as training once a week. In 2018/19, my team and I were promoted from Division 1 to the premiere league. That was one of the highlights of my time in first year. I was able enjoy my hobby and at the same time contribute to the College.

Karate students smiling at competition

Judo is the other sport that I participated in during my first year. I had the chance to represent the University at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition. This is also the sport where I earned my first BUCS medal. Like other students, I signed up for the sport at the Fresher Fair, went to the taster session and got hooked to the sport. When I first joined, I knew little about judo – but with the guidance of my coach and teammates, I was able to join my first ever judo competition and come home with a silver medal.

Judo also allowed me to spend quality time with my teammates. The BUCS competition would mean a weekend away in Sheffield where we would cheer and encourage each other. It was probably one of the best things about judo – being able to do the sport you love and tighten your bonds with your teammates at the same time.

In my second year, I joined the Durham University Baseball & Softball Club, because I wanted to reminisce about my time in secondary school where I would spend my time honing my skills and love for the sport. The banter exchanged between teammates is probably what I love most about the sport. These exchanges make the training and games much more enjoyable. It is also how we become closer together and coordinate better in the game. 

All in all, I think joining at least one sport or society during your time at university is important. You can join it as a recreational activity or, if you are like me, you can join it competitively and represent your University. It is a good way to make new friends with the same interests – and you could even meet your lifelong friends in one of these clubs. Lastly, the sport or society you joined can be a place for you to release your creativity and relieve your stress from all your schoolwork.

If you're interested in a vibrant student life like Nutta-uea's, learn more about studying with us at the International Study Centre.