You Got a Buddy In Me.

Emails from lecturers and module co-ordinators, QOL becoming your second home, reading lists and syllabus uploads – this flurry of activity can mean only one thing. A new university semester is just around the corner.

For me, final year student that I am, there also comes the sobering realisation that this is my final semester. I truly cannot believe it; it seems so surreal to consider how fast the past four years have flown in. I have had a wonderful time at university, meeting new people, making amazing friends and having a wealth of opportunities on offer. It pains me to think that I have only a few months left to enjoy QUB, but I am determined to make the most of the time remaining to me. As such, I am equally determined to give back to my university, and the fantastic student community which has given me so much. So I am glad to write this post today to inform you about the International Buddy Scheme, and share my excitement at taking part for another semester!

I wrote about the International Buddy Scheme at the commencement of the Autumn semester last year, and I found it to be a really enlightening and rewarding experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time meeting, talking to and hanging out with our lovely international students. I had such a great time, that when I was made aware of the opportunity to apply to be a ‘Buddy’ for the Spring semester, I knew I had to sign up right away. I look forward to spending my last semester welcoming international students to the QUB campus, and getting to know them.

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.

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Queen’s University Belfast: céad míle fáilte to our new international students!

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 once more.

I remember writing in my initial post regarding the International Buddy Scheme how I had worked as a Buddy per se before, but for first year Law students only. As I found working with new students to be such a worthwhile experience, I was excited to work as a Buddy with our new international guests. I can confirm that welcoming and supporting international students last year was rewarding, enjoyable and great fun.

I was able to answer calls and texts from students, meet up for coffee and share my experiences as a student on campus. I thought it was a honour and privilege to be trusted by ‘my’ international students (we Buddies are all assigned students; I felt protective of my group) when they asked me questions or requested advice.

It must be noted that the International Student Pub Crawl was perhaps one of the highlights of the Autumn Semester; there were too many laughs, jokes and terrible dancing sessions to not have fond memories of that night/morning! I felt very much akin to a mother duck leading ducklings around Belfast last night, as I am sure many of my fellow Buddy Leaders did, but it was great fun.

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; I would love to be able to assist with helping new students. 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 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.

Thus I look forward to the first ‘Meet Up’ for both Buddies and international students alike tomorrow, Thursday 28th January at 5pm in The Lounge of the QUB SU: you’ve got buddies in us.

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