Develop cross-culture friendships with UEA students Develop cross-culture friendships with UEA students

UEA Friends Programme

UEA Friends if for students like you. It is a cross-cultural networking between returning students and new students to build new friendships that will make settling into life at UEA easier and have a successful start. Returning students (called Student Support Reps) will be able to give you advice, support and information about social opportunities based on their own experience when they first arrived at UEA. Other new students will be in your group.

There are 4 different groups, with different features based on common interests and hobbies:

Group A – Lord Nelson

Group B – Julian of Norwich

Group C – Florence Nightingale

Group D – Guy Fawkes

The aim is for you to get the extra little information you need that makes a big difference in settling into life at UEA, have fun, make friends and feel you are welcome here.


The UEA Friends programme offers:

  • An opportunity to be in contact with a returning student even before arriving at UEA
  • A warm welcome to new international students arriving at UEA
  • To make you feel at home
  • To make you feel part of the University
  • The chance to discover the different services and opportunities available at UEA
  • Opportunities to meet others and create friendship networks
  • Regular meetings and social opportunities with your Rep(s) and other UEA Friends
  • Someone to talk to in your first weeks at UEA
  • An introduction to the British way of life


Your Student Support Rep can help with:

  • Understanding the style of learning and teaching in the UK.
  • Understanding how the systems at UEA works – how to do what and where.
  • Finding your way around campus.
  • Getting to know about events and activities happening on campus.
  • Knowing what the Students' Union is and how they can help.

How it works

Once you join UEA Friends, you will be matched into a group of 5 new international students with similar interests as you. Your group will also have a Student Support Rep or two, who are a current UEA student, to lead and organise the group. You will be emailed the name and contact details of everyone in your UEA Friends group. Your Student Support Rep will contact you to arrange times to meet and to arrange social activities and outings. You will have the opportunity to meet during the International Orientation and Welcome Week.

Your Student Support Rep will be able to share their knowledge and experiences to help answer any question that you may have about being a student at UEA (from the best place for meals out to the best place to buy food, from how to use the laundrette to which stop you need to alight on the bus on your way to the city).

You will then be able to meet and socialise with everyone in your group and can start to build your network of friends.

If you sign up to UEA Friends after you arrive we can still match you up in a group with a Student Support Rep. However requests to join UEA Friends will end on Friday 6 October.

How to get involved

To join UEA Friends, please complete the online request form and we will email you before you start at UEA in September with your group contact details. 

UEA Friends is now closed.

If you have any questions about the UEA Friends programme, please contact us at  


What to Practise Your English?

Want help to practise your English? You can also request a Language Support Buddy who will meet with you weekly to practise English. For further information and details on how to apply visit the Language Support Buddy page.


More on the UEA Friends Groups

Group A - Lord Nelson

Interests and hobbies:

  • Animals and pets
  • The Environment
  • Outdoor activities
  • Travelling and sightseeing
  • Sports
  • Science
  • Volunteering and community involvement


Who was Lord Nelson?

Lord Nelson was one of Britain’s greatest naval commanders. He had a long and distinguished career, in which he gained a reputation as a master tactician and for his great personal bravery.

His crowning moment came at the Battle of Trafalgar, where Britain’s decisive victory over Napoleon’s fleet ended the threat of a French invasion.

He was born in 1758 in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, the sixth of eleven children. At the age of only 12, he joined the navy as an apprentice working in the lowest naval ranks. However, his aptitude and enthusiasm for the job, saw him rapidly rise through the ranks, until he was given his own ship and made a captain at only 20 years old. This rapid advancement through the ranks occurred despite suffering an acute form of sea-sickness which dogged him throughout his life.

His first service was in the West Indies, where he was involved in managing Britain’s commercial interests. However, after the US revolutionary wars ended, there were cutbacks to the navy and Horatio found himself out of work and surviving on half pay. He returned to England with his wife, Frances Nesbet.

However, the French revolutionary wars saw Nelson re-employed and he became engaged in battles around the Mediterranean. He achieved notable victories against the Spanish at Cape Vincent 1797 and the Battle of Copenhagen (1801).

He developed a reputation as a very good commander, who was daring, bold and – when necessary – willing to disobey orders. He also picked up several serious injuries and was blinded in one eye. When he was given a command to withdraw at the Battle of Copenhagen, he ignored the command putting his telescope to his blind eye and pretending not to see. His boldness paid off – with his persistence gaining victory.

Nelson was a complex character; at a time when navy discipline was often extremely severe, he was said to have had empathy and love for his men – he didn’t adopt an overly authoritarian manner. His men definitely responded to his courage and confidence. But, he was also vain and loved to be flattered and receive praise. He had a great need for attention and was often bedevilled by insecurities. However, he was admired as a leader with a very strong sense of duty to his country.

By 1801, Lord Nelson’s prowess and led him to be appointed a vice-admiral and he became increasingly engaged in the Napoleonic wars with France. In 1805, Napoleon’s reach extended across France, and Britain was under real threat of invasion. However, under Lord Nelson’s command, France was defeated and the threat of invasion receded. However, the victory cost Nelson his life – dying in battle on 21 October 1805.


Return to top


Group B - Julian of Norwich

Interest and hobbies:

  • Books and reading
  • Drama and theatre
  • Writing and blogging
  • Foreign languages
  • Politics and religion
  • Playing cards and board games
  • Museums


Who was Julian of Norwich?

Julian of Norwich, (born in 1342-c., died in 1416) is known to us almost only through her book, The Revelations of Divine Love, which is widely acknowledged as one of the great classics of the spiritual life. She is thought to have been the first woman to write a book in English which has survived.

We do not know Julian's actual name but her name is taken from St. Julian's Church in Norwich where she lived as an anchoress for most of her life. We know from the medieval literary work, The Book of Margery Kempe, that Julian was known as a spiritual counsellor. People would come to her cell in Norwich to seek advice. Considering that, at the time, the citizens of Norwich suffered from plague and poverty, as well as a famine, she must have counselled a lot of people in pain. Yet, her writings are suffused with hope and trust in God's goodness.


Return to top


Group C - Florence Nightingale

Interests and hobbies:

  • Photography
  • Live music
  • Gaming
  • Films and TV
  • Painting and Drawing
  • Art and Design
  • Music


Who was Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May 1820, in Florence, Italy, the city which inspired her name. The younger of two daughters, Nightingale was part of an affluent British clan that belonged to elite social circles. Her mother, Frances Nightingale, hailed from a family of merchants and took pride in socializing with people of prominent standing. Despite her mother's interests, Florence herself was reportedly awkward in social situations and preferred to avoid being the centre of attention whenever possible. Strong-willed, she often butted heads with her mother, whom she viewed as overly controlling. Florence Nightingale defied the expectations of the time and pursued what she saw as her God-given calling of nursing. During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, greatly reducing the death count. Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform, and in 1860 she established St. Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in London. A revered hero of her time, she died on 13 August, 1910, in London.


Return to top


Group D - Guy Fawkes

Interests and hobbies:

  • Dancing
  • Eating out
  • Going to the pub
  • Making the most of Norwich
  • Trying new things
  • Going to cafés
  • Shopping


Who was Guy Fawkes?

Guy Fawkes was born in York, England in 1570. His father, Edward Fawkes, who died while Guy was still a child, was part of the judiciary and thus had official Protestant allegiances, while Guy's mother, Edith, had a Catholic background.

At the time, the country suffered from deep religious divisions. The Church of England was established under Henry VIII, and then Catholicism became ascendant for a short time during the rule of his daughter Mary I, whose reign was known for horrible violence against Protestants. But Protestantism again became the dominant belief system under the reigns of Elizabeth I, who was excommunicated from the Catholic church by Pope Pius V, and her successor, James I, with the staunch persecution of Catholics a violent reality. It is believed Fawkes left England in the first half of the 1590s and served in the Spanish army, fighting in the Netherlands against Protestant forces and eventually adopting the moniker Guido. He also did diplomatic work, petitioning the king of Spain to attempt to invade England again when James I ascended to the throne in 1603.

Fawkes was eventually recruited to join a group of conspirators organized by nobleman Robert Catesby, whose aim was to blow up Parliament during its opening session on November 5, 1605. The Gunpowder Plot, as it became known, would result in an explosion intended to kill the king, his oldest son and members of the House of Lords and House of Commons. The group also planned to kidnap James’s daughter Elizabeth and have her wed a Catholic ruler from abroad, thus re-establishing Catholicism in England. The conspirators were able to obtain a plot of space directly under the parliamentary building, and Fawkes, using the name John Johnson in his guise as caretaker, was charged with watching and manning the gathered barrels of gunpowder. After an anonymous letter was sent to a Catholic parliamentarian warning him to not be present on the day of the planned attack, the plot was discovered, and on the night of November 4, Fawkes was arrested. 

After two days of torture, Fawkes revealed his co-conspirators, most of whom were found. On January 31, 1606, Fawkes avoided being hanged, and drawn and quartered alive - the tradition at the time for those convicted of treason. As Fawkes climbed the ladder to the hanging platform to meet his fate, he jumped and broke his neck, dying instantly. He was later drawn and quartered nonetheless.

The day of November 5 came to be declared a national holiday as a day of “thanksgiving,” offering anti-Catholic sentiments that would later vanish. The celebration has morphed over the centuries, eventually coming to be named Guy Fawkes Day, with more recent incarnations less politically and religiously oriented.

Fawkes, despite being associated with a terrorist-based plot, has been used as a symbol of resistance via pop-cultural expression and real-world protests.

The 5th of November, Bonfire Night, is now still celebrated with fireworks in many places in the UK.


Return to top