How international students can become involved at the University of Glasgow


The University of Glasgow has something of a reputation for giving international students a warm welcome and making it an easy place to study abroad. 

Not only do international students make up 15% of the school’s population, but a whopping 96% of them are happy with the campus environment, according to one study. That unusually high figure might have something to do with the school's abundance of sports teams, social clubs, and extracurricular activities, giving visiting students plenty of opportunities to get involved, meet new friends, learn new skills, and truly feel at home while they’re in Glasgow. 

Check out the offerings at the GUU

The Glasgow University Union (GUU) is legendary for its social and recreational events, making it the perfect place to start if you want to get more involved on campus. Pro tip: Their weekly lineup of events includes public speaking training led by the university’s champion debate team – which has more World University Debating Championships than both Oxford and Cambridge combined. Spend a few evenings practicing your public speaking with the experts, and you'll boost your confidence and language skills, gain something to highlight on your resume, and likely make some new friends along the way!

The highlight of GUU’s calendar for most students, however, is Daft Friday, an annual 12-hour black tie ball held at the end of Christmas term that transforms the Union’s rooms into everything from concert halls and charity casinos to laser quest arenas. A true University of Glasgow experience that should not be missed! 


A shot from the audience at a live music event, similar to the experience at Daft Friday


Discover a new interest (or indulge an existing one) in a social club

If you have a passion or hobby that excites you, there’s a good chance the University of Glasgow has a community for it, considering there are around 300+ student clubs and societies to choose from! 

Play an instrument? Join the Glasgow University Big Band, a student-run jazz band that plays everything from classic big band and blues to modern pop. Connect with like-minded peers in academic clubs such as the Engineering Society, International Law Society, or Physiology and Human Biology Society. Be daring and explore something new in niche groups like the Polar Bear Club, where you learn the art of cold plunging outdoors, or reeling, a type of Scottish country dancing. You can also connect with fellow students who share your pop culture interests in clubs like the Taylor Swift Society and the Harry Potter Society. 

Connect with other international students

With so many new experiences available, sometimes it’s nice to connect with someone or something that reminds you of home. Among the hundreds of student clubs mentioned, many are specifically run by and for students from certain cultural and regional backgrounds.

For example, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association celebrates important Chinese holidays with events like a dance on Singles’ Day and a gala for the Spring Festival. The Japan Society organizes karaoke and sushi parties, while the K-pop Society connects you with other Hallyu enthusiasts through activities like K-drama watch parties and dance workshops.

Join a sports team

At the University of Glasgow, you don’t need to be on a varsity team to enjoy sports. There are dozens of recreational sports clubs to join, everything from aikido and American football to ultimate frisbee and yoga. Some of the more unique athletic offerings at UofG include Hares & Hounds, an outdoor running club that gets you out exploring the city and Scottish countryside; shinty, a traditional Scottish stick sport; and, of course, golf, which the Scots proudly invented.


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The Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) also organizes Recstravaganza, a weekly sports program every Friday featuring a rotating schedule of sports like volleyball, basketball, badminton, and squash. These sessions are led by club members who teach the basics of the sports, and it’s a low-stakes way to meet new people, try different sports, and stay active. 

Sprawl out on Kelvingrove during a sunny spell

Just a stone’s throw from the University of Glasgow campus, Kelvingrove Park is a classic Victorian park with sprawling green spaces, and serves as the de facto student hangout on the normally overcast city’s rare sunny days. When the weather does brighten up, Kelvingrove springs to life as people flock to the park to lay out blankets, set up picnics, blast music, and soak up the bonnie weather for an afternoon. This is the place to be and meet other UofG students. 

A group of students sits outside at Kelvingrove Park near University of Glasgow