Paraphrasing The Beatles aside, this is an exciting post for me to share with you all today, focusing as it does on the amazing International Buddy Scheme programme at my university of Queen’s University Belfast (hereafter QUB).
I am excited to share the news with you that I will be part of the student team working within this scheme, to help welcome and support our new international students this year.
The programme works on a basis of matching up: international and local QUB students are paired together, with the local QUB student acting as a ‘Buddy’ to welcome the international student and act as a point of support, reference and friendship. The scheme has been in operation for several years, and is truly a great way for students to meet each other, make new friends and have a lot of laughs and chats along the way of settling into a new university in a new country.
As a final year student myself, and one who has had a marvellous time at QUB and enjoyed utilising the wonderful resource that is the Student’s Union, I cannot wait to get started. I have worked as a Buddy per se before, but for first year Law students. This was in my second year, and my role required me to help my assigned students settle into university, adjusting the new routine that comes with a university as opposed to secondary school workload. I was also there to help with understanding of topics discussed across their classes within the modules they were studying, to maybe proofread coursework, dissect a case and get to grips with tutorials. I found it to be a rewarding and worthwhile experience, so I am very happy to have the opportunity to work as a Buddy again – but with our new international guests.
In addition, after studying abroad in the US last year, I know how it feels to be ‘an international student on campus’ and how difficult it initially feels to adjust to cultural differences, make new friends on a new campus and cope with homesickness. A friendly face and a sympathetic listener can work wonders and help you get the most out of studying abroad. After reading about the International Buddy Scheme, I knew that with my own experience behind me, I would love to be able to assist with helping new students.
I am looking forward to seeing the scheme commence, especially as I know it promises to be an exciting time for all involved. I think it is a privilege to work alongside other students to represent Queen’s, as I have had a wonderful time here. I cannot wait to get to know the new international students, to hear about their respective countries, to learn from them and to introduce them to student life on campus at QUB.
I just would like to aim for our new students to feel at home at Queen’s, make many friends and have a memorable start to their studies. I hope that we can provide a support network that will be friendly and warm as we welcome our new friends to QUB.
As discussed on the International Buddy Scheme’s page on the SU website, the first ‘Meet Up’ for both Buddies and international students alike will take place on Wednesday 16th September at 5pm in The Lounge (at the back of the SU).
So, I am going to take this opportunity to do a little promotional work: fellow QUB students, please do consider coming along and helping out. To our new guests and soon to be friends from abroad, please do pop along too! We cannot wait to meet you and to say a grand fáilte to you all.
Local students – if you are interested in the scheme and want to find out more information and/or register your participation, simply email the Student Officer for Equality & Diversity, Oisín Hassan by Monday the 14th September at 5PM.
I am looking forward to the first Meet Up of the International Buddy Scheme, and for all the good times to be had throughout the year!