If you’re heading off to university this year, you might be feeling pretty anxious about it. That’s not surprising, seeing as meeting new people, living in a different place, and studying at a higher level can be daunting. However, one thing could make your experience more comfortable: a buddy system at university.
Many universities offer a buddy system to help undergraduate students settle into their new life. A buddy system can be especially helpful for international students, who, for instance, might be studying somewhere they’ve never even visited before.
But what is a buddy system at university, and why is it so important?
What is a buddy system at university?
A university buddy system is a programme that pairs older, more experienced students with new undergraduates. Your buddy is there to give you guidance and valuable advice for navigating your new life at university.
Accordingly, a buddy system usually pairs second or third-year students with new undergraduate students. However, these systems are voluntary, meaning you won’t automatically be paired with a buddy on your arrival, you will have to apply. As such, students from underprivileged backgrounds and international students are especially encouraged to apply when they get to university.
In essence, your buddy will be on-hand to help you with the transition to university. At some universities, you may even be introduced to them in the weeks before your move so you can discuss any problems you have before arrival.
Once you’re at university, you may meet up with your buddy on a regular basis (once a week, for example) or just chat once a week by text or email. Some things you might discuss with your student buddy at university include:
- How to meet new people
- Things to do in your new city or town
- Study tips
- Finding your way around campus
- What kinds of clubs and societies there are
Most importantly, though, you should remember that your buddy is not a university employee but a volunteer. If you have any more sensitive questions about finance, visas, or housing, you should seek the relevant department at your university.
Why is a buddy system at university helpful?
University can be daunting, especially for an international student. For example, you might not have visited your chosen university campus before applying (or perhaps not even visited your chosen country). Consequently, you will probably have more questions that local undergraduate students about settling in and how to make the best of your time abroad.
With this in mind, having a student buddy is a great way to learn from someone who’s been through it before. If you are an international student, you may also be paired with a student buddy who is also an international student. Crucially, this will allow you to get guidance and advice based on your own unique experiences of being an international student.
Some topics you might like to discuss with your student buddy as an international student include:
- How to improve your English language skills
- Where to meet other international students on campus
- Which international clubs or societies you can join
- Discovering the culture of your new country or city
What do students think about their buddies at university?
So, how does a buddy system at university work in real life? Well, that depends entirely on the university. That’s why we’ve gathered some verified student reviews from the EDUopinions site so you can hear exactly what real students think about their buddy programmes.
This is the best university for international students due to its diverse and multicultural way of imparting education.Would surely recommend this university to international students. The best in class faculty who are ready to support students and the buddy system which helps new students to adjust to the city and get to know basic yet useful information are some of the characteristics of this university which distinguishes it from other European universities.
IESEG School of Management
From my point of view, the only thing that I need to say about the university is that has helped me a lot in every aspect. First of all, I would like to talk about the integration and how with their buddy program for going exchange needed to find some people of other countries to get more points, that could be the most important thing because, in the beginning, you don’t feel lonely. After that, about the classes, I could say that I like how they manage to impart them, since being different from my country, seeing both types is new to me may have had a good impression. After this, as I have done some subjects in my country, they had helped me to get other ones so it has been easy for me. In conclusion, I would say that the management of the university with the ambience with all the city of Lille, has made that it have a good impact on me. The only bad thing that I would like is a sports complex, but you can’t have everything.
Universidad Pontificia Comillas
I am a part of the Comillas Sapiens exchange program and have had an awful experience. My statistics professor should be audited and learn how to structure exams better with an emphasis on correct English. Her questions are convoluted and very hard to understand. Her lectures are rushed and if you ask her a question after class she will just mumble an answer that is inaudible.
Along with this, the university had a Buddy system that groups you with other international students along with native Comillas students who are supposed to introduce you to Madrid and help make you feel like you belong there… this did not happen. My Buddies were awful hosts. The only interactions I saw from them were academic answers, there were no attempts at gathering people together. They did not respond to my question on if there was anyone who wanted a running partner until the day after the school sent out an email about reviewing your Buddies. Honestly embarrassing on the part of the school. I wish I went to a different college to study abroad if I knew about these awful events. I hope the school learns from the review I will make at the end of my semester.
Aalen university has a very efficient diversity and inclusion program. There is a program called “The buddy initiative” where new international students are matched with local buddies and there are given structured activities that facilitates collaboration and bonding this initiative is especially great for international students like myself that are trying to get familiar with a new culture, navigating through the culture shock and settling don in spite of the language barrier. I also found the teaching and administrative staff very helpful. It’s been really a great time so far as my academic and social needs are met.
For any students who are concerned about heading off to university, a buddy system could be exactly what you need. Especially for international students, a buddy system at university can make you feel more comfortable in a new country and give you the confidence to meet new people. Furthermore, your buddy can give you valuable tips on studying and exploring your new city.
Aside from a buddy system, there are other ways of making your university experience more comfortable. For example, check out our article on the best YouTube channels for university students.