i-Buddy case study - Gabriela and Lia
i-Gabriela and Lia are one of the pairs of students that took part in September 2014. Gabriela is a Romanian student in her final year of the Accounting and Finance degree and spent last year as an Exchange student in Switzerland. Lia is a Brazilian student studying Architecture who is spending a year studying at DMU as part of the Science without Borders Scheme.
They were matched by i-Buddies and met up for a coffee in the first week of term and have not looked back. Together they have enjoyed a wide range of activities including cinema visits, attending concerts, parties, a daytrip to Oxford and lots more chats over coffee.
Gabriela volunteered as a buddy to make new friends ‘I wanted to socialise and interact with people from different cultures. I am from a different culture myself. I understand it can sometimes be difficult so I wanted to help!’ Through meeting Lia she feels she has learnt a lot about Brazilian culture.
Gabriela recommends the i-Buddies scheme to other DMU students. “I wish I’d done it earlier I would have made more friends!”
Lia chose to join the scheme before arriving at DMU because ‘it would be good to have someone to explain life at DMU and in the UK and understand how things work” Lia was part of a large group of students from Brazil and so it was also a good opportunity to speak more English outside the classroom but “the best thing about the scheme has been making a European friend”.
Her advice to new students thinking about joining the scheme is ‘just enjoy it - just be who you are!”
Although the scheme has now ended the Buddies have stayed in contact. Lia explains ‘At the end of the scheme we were friends and we will stay friends’ Gabriela has invited Lia to attend her graduation ceremony later this year.