If you feel overwhelmed by the number of new things you’ll have to figure out after your arrival to Wrocław - this is the right place. If you’re a local and just feel like helping out a fellow student while learning about other cultures, keep reading as well. The Buddy System is an initiative of the Student Council of the University of Wrocław, organized in cooperation with the International Office. It’s dedicated to international and local students alike and offers an opportunity to develop new friendships, enrich lives through intercultural experiences, and discover Wrocław through new eyes.
The main goals of the Buddy system are:
● Improving the welcome phase and the integration of international students,
● Developing the internationalization of local students by promoting intercultural exchange and open-mindedness,
● Raising awareness about the student mobility opportunities available at the University of Wrocław.
How does it work?
The main idea is that every student coming to Wrocław for an exchange period gets paired up with a local, who can help them find their feet in a new environment, show them around Wrocław and offer help in case of any emergencies. The kind of assistance can vary - from picking a Buddy up from the airport, through accompanying them on a trip to the Voivodeship Office, all the way to showing them the best places in the city to eat pierogi. The details are up to you, but the most important thing is always just being there in case of any questions or worries.
Why should I get a Buddy?
● Do you want to discover the local culture and learn the language?
● Would you like someone to help you out with finding your way around the city?
● Would you like to make new friends among the local students? With the Buddy System, we will assign you a Buddy to help you and share their experience of Wrocław!
Why should I be a Buddy?
● Do you enjoy international exchanges and discovering new cultures?
● Do you feel like sharing your knowledge or Wrocław? Or are you a newcomer too, and you’d like to have someone to explore the city with?
● Would you like to make international friendships?
Keep the Buddy System in mind especially if you’re about to go on an exchange yourself and you’d like to have a taste of what’s to come, or if you’ve just returned from Erasmus and you want to still keep in touch with that international spirit.
Where do I sign up?
Easy. It takes about 5 minutes to register by filling out the basic (but key) pieces of information about yourself (place of study, age, gender, hobbies, date of arrival and departure, etc.) in our online form. After that, with the help of our algorithm, we will be able to assign you a Buddy (a local buddy if you are abroad or an international student if you are a local) that matches your expectations and interests! The only thing to do after that is to wait for the e-mail with your new friend’s contact information, and you’re all set to meet up.
Sign up by the online form: buddysystem.eu/en/register
With any questions, suggestions, doubts (or with excitement, who knows!), you can e-mail the organizing team at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter is too small, and we have our e-mail notifications on, so don’t hesitate to write!
- What sort of activities have Buddies done with the new international students?
This is really all up to you. Think of what you do with your friends, and try to start there - that’s what this is about. Being a Buddy is not a full-time job, nor is it especially hard. Just go grab a coffee or see a movie, maybe visit a museum at some point? Previous editions have shown that cooking together and sharing recipes was a great experience, too.
Remember that you’re not going to be the only person with a Buddy! If you feel like meeting up in a group, post an invite in our Facebook group and get a team to do something special together.
- Who will I be buddied with?
We match our Buddies based on a couple of factors - age, the course of studies, interests, and languages spoken are some of them. We always try to make sure you have some things in common - this is easier if the forms are filled out precisely, so remember to tell us something about yourself!
- Can I be buddied with a student from a particular country?
Obviously some of you will want to meet a student from a particular country, perhaps to practice a certain language for example. There is an option to mention this in the form and 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 it. It largely depends on the year and on who actually arrives in Wrocław. You might need to be fairly flexible.
- How much time will being a buddy involve?
It would be great for the Buddies to keep in touch once every two week or so, but it depends on every pair and on every person’s preferences. Sometimes, despite our best efforts to match you well, people just don’t click - that’s fair. Do keep in mind, however, that the first two weeks are probably going to be filled with questions about life in Wrocław, and so they might be the busiest.
- 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 assist.
- 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. The Facebook group dedicated to the Buddy System is also full of people who might have already experienced similar problems.
- I signed up a while ago, but I haven’t heard anything. Why?
Don’t worry, if you have the confirmation e-mail (check your spam!) then you are properly registered. The reason it’s taking a long time might be because we haven’t found a suitable Buddy for you yet, but it doesn’t mean there’s a problem or that you won’t get a Buddy..
- I missed the deadline, can I still get a buddy?
Maybe! Make sure to sign up and we’ll see what we can do. Sometimes there are people signing up well after the deadline, so it’s possible that you can still get a Buddy. If the form is closed, please e-mail email@example.com
- I am an exchange student, can I have multiple buddies?
No, please only sign up once. Fewer local students sign up than incoming international students, and we want to cover as many international students as possible.
- I am a local student, can I have multiple buddies?
Yes. There are always fewer local students signing up than incoming international students, so we need all the help we can get to cover as many as possible.
- Am I guaranteed to get a buddy after signing up?
Yes, if you signed up in time.
- Can I be a Buddy Mentor if I am a first-year student?
Sure! A lot of the problems Buddies encounter are strictly related to them not being able to speak Polish, or being confused about the Polish culture. Even if you have only just come to Wrocław, it’s not a problem, since you can just discover the city together. And if there are any questions you need to be answered, just e-mail us and we’ll figure it out together.