Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the International Buddy scheme for?
- What sort of activities have buddies done with new international students?
- Will I need to have an interview to become an international student buddy?
- Who will I be buddied with?
- Can I be buddied with a student from a particular country?
- Which country will my international buddies come from?
- How much time will being a buddy involve?
- How many buddies will I have?
- Will I be expected to help my buddy with their academic work?
- What if I don't get on with any of my students?
- What should I do if my buddy has a problem or question that I can't deal with?
- Will I be able to claim back expenses?
1. What is the International Buddy scheme for?
For new international students, coming to live in a new country is often exciting, though at first it can be daunting or even stressful. International students can be under pressure to adapt quickly to a new country and a new culture, and to adjust to studying in the UK for the first time. For many of them, English may not be their first language. Some may experience homesickness or "culture shock" - the feeling that you can have when moving from your own culture to a new and unfamiliar one.
Many international students also tell us that they sometimes find it difficult to meet new people, and UK students in particular.
The buddy scheme (i-Buddies) is designed to help new international students settle in and to meet students from the UK and from other countries.
For the existing students who volunteer to become buddies - we hope that the scheme will also provide some interesting opportunities to experience another culture, to make some international friends and to introduce an overseas students to living and studying in the UK! We've been running i-Buddies since 2012 and lots of the students have volunteered to be buddies have told us that they enjoyed and benefitted from the experience.
2. What sort of activities have buddies done with the new international students?
This is what previous buddies have told us that they did -
- Met up for coffee
- Invited their buddies to birthday celebrations
- Went for afternoon tea
- Invited their buddy for sunday lunch, or shared food or meals
- Went to cultural and social events, including Halloween, bonfire night and the Christmas lights switch-on
- Attended the DMU carol service in December.
You could also look around the city, visit a museum, go to the cinema, visit the DMU Leisure Centre...!
You might also want to arrange activities in a group with other buddies too! We have a Facebook group, so that you can share ideas and experiences.
3. Will I need to have an interview to become an international student buddy?
We will invite you to come and see us for a quick informal chat about the scheme (though it's not an interview as such). And of course, you're welcome to come and talk to us if you have questions, or if there's anything about the scheme that you want to discuss.
4. Who will I be buddied with?
Wherever possible, you will be matched with one or more buddies who share a similar profile and interests to you - so hopefully you will have some things in common. Your buddies will generally be the same gender as you, although we do sometimes need to buddy male and female students together. We'll always check with you first to make sure you're happy with this.
We sometimes try to buddy students from the same course or faculty; however not all students want this - and in any case, the buddy scheme is based around cultural exchange and befriending - it is not an academic mentoring programme. We'll ask you how you feel about this as part of the application process.
5. Can I be buddied with a student from a particular country?
We know that some students want to meet a student from a particular country, perhaps to practice a certain language for example. If you have expressed an interest in buddying a student from a certain country then we will try to take account of this during the buddy matching process, however we can't guarantee that we will be able to arrange this. It depends to a great extent on the nationalities of those students who have asked for a buddy, and so your buddies may not be from the country that you've requested - you'll need to be fairly flexible!
Please also note that we will not usually match students of the same nationality (unless the newly arrived student has specifically asked for this). This is because one of the aims of the buddy scheme is to encourage inter-cultural exchange by pairing up international students with UK students, or with someone of a different nationality.
6. Which country will my international buddies come from?
We won't be able to confirm which country your buddies are from until the scheme starts until we start the matching process. It also depends on which new students apply for a buddy! In the past we have sometimes had large numbers of new students from China and from Brazil, however students come to DMU from a range of different countries - so you'll need to be flexible!
7. How much time will being a buddy involve?
We ask buddies to contact their students once a week - this might be by text, email, social networking or by phone. We also ask you to arrange to meet up with your buddies in person once every 2 weeks. If you have more than one buddy, there's no problem in arranging to meet them together as a small group.
Please remember that the scheme only runs until the end of the Autumn term (until Christmas), but that you're welcome to stay in touch beyond this, if you both want to.
8. How many buddies will I have?
This depends on the ratio of new students to buddies; we won't know how many new students apply for a buddy until the autumn. In the last scheme, most volunteers had 1 or 2 buddies.
9. Will I be expected to help my buddy with their academic work?
No! You are not expected to assist with academic work or proof-read your buddy's English. The buddy scheme is based around cultural exchange and befriending, it is not an academic mentoring scheme. Before the scheme starts we will provide you with information about sources of support at DMU, so that you can refer your buddy to appropriate assistance if necessary.
10. What if I don't get on with any of my students?
The fact that you and your buddy have both applied to join the scheme suggests that you're both open to new experiences and making new friends, and in our experience, most buddies get on well and there aren't too many problems. However we're here to support you and if you have any questions or problems, just let us know - we'll be happy to try to assist.
11. What should I do if my buddy has a problem or question that I can't deal with?
You may not be able to deal with all your buddy's questions or problems. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have to - we're here to support you.
12. Will I be able to claim back expenses?
Sorry, we are not able to pay any expenses. Hopefully your buddying won't incur much expense; there are plenty of free activities in Leicester - we'll give you some ideas during the training session.
Other questions that we've not answered here?
If so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org