The UL Buddy Programme – Being a Buddy as an exchange student!

At the end of my first semester I made the decision to become a Buddy in the second semester, there are several reasons for why I did this! In this blog post, I will just go through some of the reasons I chose to become one.

First, if you wonder what the buddy program is I will provide a link so you can read about it here. However in short it is a program for international students to have someone in Ireland from UL when they arrive from their home country. The most important job for a buddy is to help out the buddies to feel safe and welcome. Before I arrived in UL I signed up to have buddy to help with this transition. At the start of the semester my buddy introduced me to people, gave me information and answered all the questions I had and helped me figure things out when he didn’t know the information himself. I quickly realised how vital my buddy had been to easing me into life here in UL.

The difficulty I had engaging and connecting with people made me realize how much I wanted to volunteer in my second semester I wanted to be the friend my buddy had been to me. The second reason for my choice was to keep improving my English, engaging in other students made me have to speak even more English that before. Sometimes it is too easy for me just to call home and talk Norwegian, and hardly speak English at all. I realized how much my English had improved when I continued to speak English at least a little every day.

My main reason for joining was the importance of the buddy programme. The buddy programme allows you to be the helping hand or the friend that an international student might needf, even if it is just for a few hours a week when they don’t know what is going on, or even having someone to go for tea or coffee when they feel lonely.

These are just some reasons I applied for the buddy programme after my buddy recommended me to do so. When the second semester came along and I was assigned buddies I was really excited, it made me feel really good knowing that I was going to be able to help students. I feel like I tried my best. Some of the things I like especially is going to get tea or coffee, or going to a rugby match together, which has been a great experience. I would highly recommend anyone that has some extra time to become a buddy if they are planning on staying for more than a semester, and I also recommend all international students to get a buddy if they are considering coming to UL.

The Buddy Programme is a fantastic opportunity to make friends from all around the world, learn about new cultures and take part in a number of fun events while also making a positive contribution to your university community. If you would like to help international students settle into life at UL while practising your language next semester then this programme is for you!

The UL Buddy Programme matches international students with existing UL students, who help them get settled in their new surroundings. Participation is open to anyone that is a registered UL student in the Autumn semester. We organise a number of events throughout the semester especially for participants in the Buddy Programme, including a pizza party, movie nights, coffee dates and tours of King John’s Castle.

Here is a video we produced with some of our previous international students, highlighting how much having a Buddy means to them. You should also find a brochure attached with further details. Time spent participating in the Buddy Programme can also be used as hours to go towards the President’s Volunteer Award, which makes for a fantastic addition to your CV.

If you are interested in taking part in the Autumn 2019 Buddy Programme, then simply fill in the application form at this link. If you have any questions or queries about the programme please don’t hesitate to send an email to buddyprogramme@ul.ie.We’d love to hear from you!

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