About the project
ESNbuddy is a project which will reinforce one of our fundamental values: “students helping students”. The main aim of the project is to bring the Network together by sharing best practices of how local buddy systems are managed.
With this, we can improve the way in which we implement the concept throughout the network by continually innovating to set a standardized, high-quality student support service. By doing so, ESN will become the first contact point for exchange students and a trusted NGO by the universities. And it will also help to unify and standardize the level of support we provide the students with.
Lifecycle of the buddy programme
Phase I - Recruitment
It all starts with recruiting the buddies. This process depends on many different factors - the amount of exchange students at the university, structure of your local section and number of members, plus many other elements.
Therefore there is no right or wrong way to recruit - it has to fit into your own style of work.
Phase II - Training
Whether you have a dozen buddies in your section or you recruit hundreds of mentors every semester it is still important to give them a proper training.
Of course the type of the training will vary among the sections around Europe, but it’s extremely important to include it into your buddy programme.
Phase III - Matching
Matching of buddies and exchange students is the topic that arouses almost everyone. Some sections have their own platform, some use systems offered by others. There are fans of Google Docs and supporters of huge advanced websites.
Stay tuned, cause soon you’ll hear more about what we’re preparing for you.
Phase IV - First contact
We decide whether we like someone or not in the first 60 seconds after meeting for the first time.
We need to stress the importance of the first contact between a buddy and an exchange student and make it as easy as possible. It’s not only about giving advice via email or Facebook, it’s also about the pick up from the airport and the help during the first and hardest days. It’s all about making this first contact the start of a beautiful friendship.
Phase V - Engagement
Pretty often we forget about the buddy programme a few weeks after the semester start. But we shouldn't!
Engaging buddies into activities alongside exchange students can work only in our favor. Not only you'll have higher attendance on your event's, but it's also an amazing opportunity to promote mobility as a lifestyle, to broaden the horizons of local students and to actually form a community around exchange programs at your university.