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Humanities and Science buddies barbecue: why the buddy system works

Imagine what happens if you put a bunch of Science and Humanities students together. This is something that doesn’t happen very often. But the two Leiden University buddy programmes joined forces for an end of semester barbecue on Thursday 21 June, in the garden of the Matthias de Vrieshof building. Students from both faculties agreed: the barbecue and the buddy system are a huge success.

Thirty students from both faculties enjoyed conversations, food and drinks together. This unique event brought together Dutchies, Internationals, Alpha, and Beta Students and led to some interesting exchanges of ideas as well as new friendships across faculties. During the event, we had the chance to interview some of the students to see what they think about the buddy programmes.

Josefine (Science student)

'On my first night in Leiden, I went to my buddy’s place. We made some pancakes and relaxed a bit. It is so helpful to know someone on the first day you come to Leiden.'

Martin (Science student)

'I’m in the same study programme as my  buddy. Before I came we texted a lot. He even offered to pick me up at the airport, but that was not necessary. For the first few weeks it was very helpful to have a buddy. I’m only here for one semester, but I would sign up for the buddy programme as a buddy if I would stay here for more than half a year.'

Annemiek (Humanities Buddy)

'As a buddy, I noticed that my role was very practical in the first few weeks. After that, it became more social and I received questions like "How do I celebrate Kingsday?" and "What do Dutch people do during the 4th and 5th of May?". As a buddy, you only need to spend a couple of hours of your time and it is very rewarding. I think it should be a university wide programme, not only at the Science and Humanities faculties.'

Faculty of Humanities buddy programme

In 2016 the Humanities Faculty has set up a Buddy Programme for Master’s students to help Dutch and international students quickly integrate into the university and student life in Leiden. At the beginning of the semester, international students are paired up with a Dutch or experienced international student, who is their go-to person for questions about daily student life in Leiden.

Depending on the students’ schedules, the students meet in small groups. Moreover, social and cultural activities are organized for all the buddy programme participants. Last semester, students went to the Rijksmuseum, the Leiden Observatory and a boat trip through Leiden’s canals. They visited student associations Catena, SSR and Augustinus to learn more about Dutch student life. Students also had the possibility to join a swimming training and a yoga workshop.

Faculty of Science buddy programme

The SCIENCE Buddy Programme started in 2017 to support international students upon their arrival in Leiden and to help them with study-related questions at the Faculty of Science. Welcoming the new students before they arrive and supporting them during the first few weeks of their arrival are the most important tasks of a SCIENCE buddy.

SCIENCE buddies receive ashort training before they start into the semester as a buddy. To offer personal support, most buddies are matched with only one or two international students.

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