The 4 most unusual global Freshers’ Week traditions

Dodgy fancy dress, a few cheeky kebabs, all-nighters and bar crawls are just some of the standard traditions every British student will experience in the first week of university.

These rites of passage set you up for a life as a student and prepare you for the next few years. But if you think you had a wild introduction into uni life, check out these weird and wonderful Freshers’ Week traditions from around the world.

1. Annual Polar Bear Swim, Dartmouth University, United States

If you thought braving the cold on a rainy night in September to go clubbing was bad, students at Dartmouth plunge into an icy pond surrounded by snow. The Winter Carnival is an annual tradition which sees dozens of students jumping into Occum Pond when temperatures drop well below freezing- rather you than me!

2. Prosh Week, University of Melbourne, Australia 

As part of initiation and orientation, students in Melbourne take on the infamous ‘Prosh Week Challenge.’ Activities have included The Melbourne University Grand Prix of Go-Karting using home-made karts, bold pranks, eating contests, streaking and a whole lot of insanity. Ready or not, freshers will be thrown in at the deep end.

3. Polyball, ETH Zurich, Switzerland 

This Swiss tradition began in 1897 and has become one of the most glamorous and lavish student balls ever with around 10,000 guests invited every year. Last year’s event featured a live orchestra, a cinema, a cabaret, a casino, a tamale and 20 different live acts in 18 different rooms!

4. Raisin Monday, St Andrews University, Scotland 

This more civilised freshers’ tradition is an old one which begun back when students would give their ‘academic parents’ a pound of raisins as a thank you for welcoming them to the university. All new students are paired up with an academic ‘family’ to help them get through their first few weeks. Nowadays, the tradition includes tea, cake and games with your new ‘parents’ and a foam fight in fancy dress.