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Humanities & Science students barbecue together

To celebrate the end of the semester the Science and Humanities Buddy Programme organised a barbecue together, which has become a small tradition. The barbecue marks the third co-organised activity between the two Programmes and helps to bring international and Dutch students together. The Buddy Programme is even expanding to new faculties!

On a sunny Friday in June, a group of about 40 international students from the Science and Humanities faculties gathered together in the garden of Matthias de Vrieshof. The two Buddy Programmes decided to join forces once again, after last year’s barbecue had proven to be a success. While enjoying a sizzling welcome cocktail, the students tasted various foods, chatted and mingled with each other. Some had brought food from their home countries such as Bubble tea, spicy mango salad, and couscous, amongst other things. Behind the grill is International Relations student, Alessandro: “It is only now I realize how much the Buddy Programme has meant to me. I had the chance to meet fantastic people from all over the world as well as  discovering amazing places in Leiden and in the Hague, but more importantly... I met my girlfriend!”. With some homemade couscous on their plates, Biology students Marieke and Jordy share their thoughts about the Buddy Programme: “It is very rewarding and easy to help new international students during their first semester at Leiden University. For us, it was very interesting to get to know about the cultural background of our students from Portugal and China.”

The Buddy Programme is very valuable to international students from both faculties. Students point out that they have met many nice people and made new friends through the Programme, and that they liked participating in the diverse activities. The Science Buddy Programme for example, offered a bike fixing workshop, and the Humanities Buddy Programme had a bike tour throughout the famous flower fields around Leiden. The social and cultural activities offer students the possibility to discover Dutch culture and to interact with each other.

The Buddy Programme is expanding and the faculty of Law will start a pilot year after the summer. The LUMC, where the Buddy Programme is organised by the student association MLFS, will use the upcoming academic year to professionalize their current programme and participate in the co-organised activities.

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, such as a boat tour, museum visits, dinners and pub quizzes.

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 a short 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. Over 60% of the students that sign up for the SCIENCE Buddy Programme are still in touch with their buddy regularly after the first semester.

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