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Buddy Programme seeks new mentors: 'There’s more to being a buddy than just helping others'

Making friends in a new city can be difficult, which is why the Humanities PopCorner has created the Buddy Programme. The idea is to give international master's students a helping hand in building a social network. Project coordinator Manal Daddah updates us.

As with El Cid, in the Buddy Programme new students are divided into groups, which are guided by one or two buddies. They help students find their niche in their studies. 'When you study alone and in a different country, you’re faced with a lot of new and unfamiliar things. This project can help with that transition,’ Daddah explains.


The focus of the Buddy Programme is mainly on the social aspect of student life. 'I myself find going to bars with a group of people quite scary,' says Daddah. 'If you then also have to talk to strangers, the threshold is even higher. To make things easier, the Buddy Programme links socialising to events such as an evening of bowling. The activity allows shyer students to connect with their fellow students at their own pace, without feeling they have to step outside their comfort zone.'

In Leiden, this approach has been a success for years. 'The popularity of such activities in Leiden shows that the programme works. Many students from The Hague really wanted to participate, but were unable to come to Leiden, so we now also organise events in The Hague. We hope that people will be as enthusiastic about these activities as they are about the ones in Leiden.'

Buddies wanted

For the programme to be successful, it has to continue to attract enough 'buddies': master's students who have lived in Leiden or The Hague for some time and who would like to help the new students on their way. Being a buddy is on a voluntary basis,’ says Daddah. But that doesn't mean there’s no payback: 'You're not only doing it for the other person, but you can also make new contacts yourself.'

If you would like to take part in the Buddy Programme, you can sign up here.
Want to become a Buddy? Then click here.

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