For anyone that has taken part in the Erasmus experience is aware of just how daunting it might be trying to settle in to a new home and society. Here at ESN Maynooth we try to promote our Buddy System to help ease new international students into Irish student life. This initiative helps internationals integrate with new Irish friends and is also a great way for our Irish students to prepare for their Erasmus programme.
Many complaints we always hear from Erasmus students is that they often only make friends with other international students and not with local students so our buddy system is put in place to break down these barriers. We believe it makes the transition much easier having a local that can tell you all sorts of hints for navigating your new town and its culture. Our Irish students also find it hugely rewarding because they can show off Maynooth with pride! Also with Irish students that have just returned from Erasmus, they get the opportunity to return the warm welcome they received when they were away. It is a great way for both buddies to engage with new cultures, languages and experiences!
We have adopted the Buddy System website from ESN France which allows our international buddies (“mentees”) to set up profiles that show their personalities, their hobbies and their interests. These attributes are then matched with the Irish buddy (“mentor”) profile in order to make mentor-mentee pairings that hopefully share the same interests, hobbies and languages. Having a buddy means having a friendly face on campus, someone they can chat and meet up for coffee with or even just to message if they have questions or worries. Lots of our buddy matches go on to be great friends too.
For anyone that may be interested in becoming a buddy, they can register at http://esnmaynooth.buddysystem.eu, reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our IESN Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ErasmusStudentNetworkMaynooth/.