UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Being Part of a University Society by Lola Johnson

2 February 2024

Lola Johnson, Politics, Sociology and East European Studies student at SSEES tells us the benefits of joining a society at UCL.

Image of UCL Jazz Society

Coming to University can be a new experience for many students where they are pushed outside of their comfort zone and therefore seek comfort in things that they know. This is why a lot of students tend to join societies as they all have a lively social scene and provide a sense of normality in a new chapter of your life. UCL has over 350 societies which all run their own activities and socials which you can join, there truly is something for everyone from the juggling and circus society to SSEES’s very own SSEES society. 

I would recommend joining societies in which you already have some interest or experience in to allow you to feel comfortable in the environment and be more open to making new friends. When I started UCL I did this by joining the jazz society which put on weekly jam sessions in the local student bar (which anyone can join, no matter your skill level). As I already played the saxophone and guitar, I knew that I would really enjoy taking part in the socials and meeting other jazzy people! However, I would also recommend experimenting and joining a few societies which you have no idea what to expect from. Lots of my friends have joined the Pole Society at UCL. They absolutely love it and have learned a new skill (and they put on brilliant socials!). Whilst you do have to pay to join most societies this is usually a small, student-friendly fee (depending on the society) and during the first few weeks of term, many societies will offer free taster memberships where you can go along and experience what it’s like before committing to the full years membership.

By being part of SSEES you are automatically part of the SSEES society which holds events year-round with interesting speakers and social events (the SSEES karaoke is not one to miss). Recently I went to a talk by the UK’s ambassador to Russia from 2020-2023 Dame Deborah Bronnert who told us what it was like meeting Putin! Ultimately, joining a society at university is one of the best ways to make friends, many of my friends (me included) wish they had joined more societies in year one!  

Learn more about SSEES Society.