Being a buddy to an exchange student is a great way to help a new student feel more at home. Remember your first few weeks abroad? You may have been very excited about the new experience, but most likely you were also unsure about your surroundings, and you probably felt shy and out of place. Hopefully you were able to connect with a local who helped you get your bearings of the campus and gain insight into the culture. Now you can be that person who helps to enhance an international student’s experience abroad!
By creating a friendship with an international student, you will expand your network of friends (and potential business partners), you will become more aware of your own culture as well as the culture of your buddy, and you will have an excellent tour guide when you visit your new friend’s home!
What your friendship becomes is up to you and your buddy. Making friendships is fun and exciting but can also be a little difficult, especially with a culture barrier. If English is not your buddy’s first language, communication may be hindered at first but as you work together you will see the improvement in your buddy’s ability to communicate in English.
Some activities that may be fun for you and your buddy to do together include grocery shopping, buying books and dorm supplies, going to a sporting event or the movies, studying, and having a meal together. You may even want to invite your buddy home for Thanksgiving or a long weekend. If any of your friends share interests that are similar to those of your buddy, then by all means, introduce them to each other. You are not expected to treat your buddy to anything but be sure to inform your buddy of the approximate cost of an activity so s/he will know how much money to bring.
If you are interested in helping a new exchange student adapt to the University of Miami way of life then please sign up to be a buddy!
To sign up to be a Buddy, please respond to the returnee questionnaire that is available in your study abroad application in My StudyAbroad.