You’ve browsed the Freshers Fair and joined some societies. You may have attended some virtual welcome events and taken part in your first taster session of a new sport. What else can you expect as a member of a society in the year ahead?
One of the most exciting things about being part of a society at Warwick is the tour. Societies run both domestic and international tours every year. Domestic tours take place in the UK and typically happen in the first term, with international trips in either term two reading week or the Easter holiday.
Organising a tour is a difficult job, yet our tour secs manage it every year. Tour secs are voted in by other society members in yearly society elections. If this is a role that spikes your interest, look out for elections towards the end of the academic year.
The good thing is that society tours are normally not too pricy; societies want to appeal to a student budget. Tickets can often also be paid in instalments rather than a lump sum, helping to split up the cost. What happens on tour will vary from society to society and tour sec to tour sec.
WarwickSnow, for example, goes on a ski tour every Christmas holiday. Other sports societies may also play against other universities on their tours. Language societies will take you to a country that speaks the target language.
Some society tours will be more of a drinking holiday than anything else. Bar crawls, clubbing and even circles abroad are common. If this is not your cup of tea, it is quite easy to gauge from tour advertisements on society pages as to how much drinking will occur. Sports societies are often notorious for being more intense on tour. Although you should not ever be forced to drink if you go on a drinking-centred tour, some tours may not be as inclusive and fun for those who do not drink.
Based on my own tour experiences I would recommend it to students of any year group who wish to become more integrated into a society
Aside from drinking, other aspects of tour will also vary. Some may have a rigid timetable, while others are more flexible. In my first and second years, I went on tour with Warwick French Society. We visited Bruges and Luxembourg City in 2018 and Toulouse in 2019. The exec organised some group activities and everyone typically spent the evenings together. During the day there was a lot of freedom to do as we pleased and explore the cities in our own way.
Tour families are often popular and organised by the exec. These are small groups that feature a couple of exec members and other people on tour. Tour families can be a good way to get to know others on tour and socialise with a smaller group.
Tour really is a fantastic way to get to know other members of a society. I decided to go on the French Society tour despite having not been too involved in the society beforehand. On our voyage to Bruges and Luxembourg City, I quickly made friends with other society members. I also ended up becoming friends with people who I had seen before on my course but never really spoken to. After tour, I became more involved in the other French Soc events and became the Vice-President in my second year.
Based on my own tour experiences, I would recommend it to students of any year group who wish to become more integrated into a society. Tour is a lot of fun and an excuse to explore a new place while holidaying with friends. It may be different for students who do not enjoy alcohol or do not drink. The best thing to do is to speak to the tour sec and look on social media pages for past tours to work out what type of tours different societies have.
This year will be uncertain due to Covid-19. We may see more domestic tours rather than international. It will be very dependent on the situation after Christmas. Of course, there are still plenty of other ways to get involved in societies. Joining society groups on Facebook will keep you updated with everything that is coming up. For many, societies are one of the highlights of their university experience and there is always something out there for everyone.