Universiteit Leiden

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The Humanities Buddy Programme: definitely recommended

Many international students start their master programme at the Humanities Faculty in Leiden every semester. Among them also Ronghu Zu (29, China), Yucheng Lu (28, China), Mariana Diaz (25, Mexico) en Julia Seidel (27, Germany). For many students the university, city and country were completely new when they arrived. Luckily, the Buddy Programme was there to help them out and their buddy could answer their practical questions. “I did not feel lost any longer in the new city.”

Mariana Diaz

Mariana  Diaz

“Moving abroad and leaving everything you know behind is extremely challenging, especially when your culture is different and you have to get used to a new environment. The Humanities Buddy Programme gives you the perfect chance to meet people in the faculty. Together you experience the best parts of Leiden with them, and you get the opportunity to always have contact with locals or people that have been here for while in case that you need any information or help.

I particularly enjoyed the guided visit to the Observatory, where a student explained the importance of this place and where we could use the telescope. Another personal favorite was the boat trip through the canals, which was a great activity that enabled me to learn about Leiden while enjoying the ride in the beautiful surroundings. The Buddy Programme also allowed us to visit the Dutch student associations and share dinners with the students.

This experience surely broadened my perspective on Leiden’s student life. I would definitely recommend the programme, because you get chance to meet new people and to get to know Leiden better. And the buddies can help you if you have any doubts.”

Ronghu Zu

Ronghu Zu

“I could ask my buddy questions concerning the university and the city. Because of the Buddy Programme, I did not feel lost any longer in the new city because I knew there was someone I could go to whenever I had a question.

I enjoyed all the activities, mainly because of the socially cordiality and the wide varieties. Students coming to the activities are friendly and willing to have conversations. Though I am not a people person, I felt comfortable to talk to other students during the activities. I was impressed by the Dutch student associations in which students do more than just studying. They devote much enthusiasm to the association activities.

With all the different activities, I got to know many little things that have cultural implications which enabled me to appreciate the Dutch culture more. It gave me a sense of belonging, and now I feel more connected with the city of Leiden and the Netherlands.

I would definitely recommend the Buddy Programme to incoming students because it would help you acclimate to a new environment, it allows you to meet friendly people and it offers the opportunity to get to know Dutch culture."

Julia Seidel

Julia Seidel

“I already knew about the Buddy Programme and I thought it would be a good place to start getting to know more people here when I moved from The Hague to Leiden. During the semester things are sometimes a bit hectic and meeting new people outside of my studies can be a challenge sometimes. So for me, the Buddy program activities are a great opportunity to meet people in a non-University setting.

One of my favorite activities was the visiting one of the biggest student societies of Leiden: SSR. Student societies are a big part of Dutch student culture and it was great to get a look behind the scenes. The students prepared dinner for us and afterwards we got a tour through the building.

It was really interesting to see how a student society organizes itself and that members put a lot of effort and creativity into coordinating the society. I would recommend the buddy program to anyone who is interested in student culture in Leiden, meeting new people and having fun.”

yucheng Lu

Yucheng Lu

“The main reason why I took part in the Humanity Buddy Program is that I am eager to make more friends from all around the world and I wanted to improve my English. I would say that this program offers a good chance for me.

I like the boat trip best because I can travel along the river admiring the natural beauty of Leiden in a different angle. And the introduction of the long and interesting history of Leiden by the tour guide was great. I became more interested in this small town. I will definitely recommend this program to my friends.

It is absolutely an amazing program that I can get a deeper understanding of different people and their unique cultures. I appreciate the diversity so much and look forward to more communications among students of Leiden University in the future.”

What is the 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 join for dinner and to learn more about Dutch student life. Students also had the possibility to join a swimming training and a yoga workshop. The closing event of this Spring semester was a BBQ together with the Science Buddy Programme. 

How do I join the buddy programme?

Are you going to start a Master’s programme  at the Humanities Faculty? To get a buddy for the upcoming semester and participate in all the events and activities throughout the year, please complete this form before August 31, 2018. You will be given a buddy and added to a group with other new students before the semester starts to help you get settled.

How do I become a buddy?

The Humanities Faculty is looking for Master’s students to join their Buddy programme for the Spring semester. As a Buddy, you will be responsible for about 5 new Master’s students. You will help them settle in to life in Leiden (or The Hague) as comfortably as possibly. Interested? Sign up before August 31, 2018: 

If you have questions, please contact the Coordinator of the Buddy Programme: buddyprogramme@hum.leidenuniv.nl

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