'This initiative helps international students to settle at UT and in the Netherlands by pairing them up with a Dutch 'buddy',' explains Sietske van der Leest from Student Union, who we've met up with.
What is the buddy program?
'As a part of the program experienced Dutch student – a buddy – is paired with a newly arriving international student. The buddy helps the student to explore the university, Enschede and the Netherlands. Buddies provide any help the international student might need or want – they pick them up at the airport, show them around UT, introduce them to people and so on. We try to pair the buddies with their students based on similar hobbies, field of study and age, so it is fun and comfortable for everybody.'
How does the program work?
'The program starts in September and February, when many international students arrive, and it lasts three months. During this period, we organize three official events, such as dinners or pooling, which the buddies and students should attend. However, we also plan to arrange many other activities that the participants can join if they like. And even after the official program ends, the buddies are of course more than welcome to keep in touch with 'their' students.'
How can people register?
'It is completely voluntary and free to register and anybody can apply to be part of the program. We are currently searching for new Dutch or German buddies, who could participate in the upcoming edition of the program that is starting in September. Being part of the program is a great fun, because you get to meet people from many different cultures, and so we encourage everybody to register! People can register until August via our website: http://buddy.utwente.nl.'