Information for Buddies
- You love socializing with people and you would like to make international contacts?
- You would like to be globally engaged, improve your language skills and develop intercultural skills?
- You know your faculty inside out and really know your way around the campus?
If so, we would like you to take part in our international student mentoring program, helping newly enrolled international students during their first weeks at RWTH to find their way around and to meet, mix with, and learn from other students.
Who Can Participate?
- You are a student of RWTH Aachen University, and you have a strong interest in foreign cultures. You would like to meet international students and help them settle in at university and in Aachen.
- You are at last in your second semester at RWTH, having a good grasp of the study opportunities offered by your faculty
- You have excellent German language skills and are also fluent in English or another foreign language.
Your Job as a Buddy
You contact your mentee already prior to his or her arrival at Aachen, answering her questions concerning studying and living in Aachen. Further, you may arrange to welcome your mentee at the train station or airport and accompany them to their apartment. In the first weeks of the term, you should show your mentee around, pointing out the most important institutions, facilities, and points of contact at RWTH. You are to support him or her in coming to terms with student life in Aachen and offer to be her first contact person during her stay. As a rule, buddies and mentees participate in the program for at least three months.
When Do You Look for Buddies?
|Summer Semester:||We expect the first international students in January. The last ones arrive in Aachen in mid-April.|
|Winter Semester:||The new international students arrive in Aachen between June and mid-October.|
When and How Can You Register?
In order to prepare you for your job as a buddy, we offer buddy training sessions, which take place at least once a month. Participation is mandatory.
During the training, the matching process is explained and all questions about the program are answered. The training also contains intercultural sensitization. You will also meet new buddies during the training.
When Is the Next Training?
You can find current training dates in the International Office calendar.
You are the first point of contact if your mentee has questions, especially during the first weeks after their arrival in Aachen.
If there are questions and problems you cannot answer or solve, you can contact the Info Service Center at the International Office at any time.
As a thank you for your dedication and contribution we offer a certificate in two languages testifying to your social and intercultural involvement. Participation in the BeBuddy program can also be recognized as part of the Certificate International.
FAQ BeBuddy Program
Can I be partnered with a mentee from a specific country?
You can indicate your wishes in your registration form. We will try to take them into account. Please understand that due to the great popularity of certain countries, we may, however, not be able to accomodate your wish. Also, students from certain countries are not available every semester.
Is the buddy training mandatory?
Yes, buddy training is mandatory. There, you will learn everything there is to know about the program and at the same time meet other students who are involved.
Do I have to repeat the training every semester?
You only have to participate in the BeBuddy training and the intercultural training once and then you'll be set for the rest of your studies.
How long is my commitment as a buddy?
You should plan to be involved for about three months.This doesn't mean that you'll have to be near Campus or in Aachen the whole time. You can certainly go on vacation or be away otherwise, but you should still be reachable. In the beginning, however, face-to-face support is indeed expected.
Am I supposed to speak English with my mentee?
That depends on which languages the mentee speaks. English is the rule, but some international students also speak German quite well.
I don’t really get along with my mentee. Can I be partnered with someone else?
First we try to clear up any potential misunderstandings or see if the problem can somehow be solved. But if you and your buddy expect very different things from one another, a new pairing is of course possible. We want you to be satisfied with the program, so if you have any problems, please contact the BeBuddy team.
My mentee will not be coming to Aachen after all.
Unfortunately, we don’t always know about any short-notice changes in the students' plans and have to rely on the information provided by the mentees when they register. But we will gladly find another mentee for you. Please contact the BeBuddy team if you are interested.
My mentee wants me to do things she/he needs to do on her/his own (such as finding an apartment)
As a buddy you are an unpaid volunteer and are not obliged to take on tasks, your mentee should accomplish on their own. Primarily, you are meant to help and support your mentee with questions such as registration, travel, or finding accommodation. After your mentee has arrived, it would be nice if you could show her or him around the city and important authorities (bank, citizen service, etc.) and perhaps accompany her or him to view the apartments. However, you are under no obligation to take on the mentee's personal tasks.
When do I get the certificate for my involvement in the BeBuddy program?
The certificate of participation is always issued at the end of the semester. You will receive an email with a link to the evaluation and a request to re-register for the next semester. Once you have completed the evaluation, you can apply for the certificate testifying to your commitment as a BeBuddy.
I will be on vacation for a few weeks during the semester.
That's not a problem. The only important thing is that you are available in person at the time of arrival, because most questions come up right at the beginning.
How often should I meet with my mentee?
We do not have any concrete guidelines, but rather rely on your willingness and interest in regular contact. In general, you should be available as a buddy for about three months and you can decide how often you meet according to your availability. At the beginning of the semester, it would be great if you could meet your buddy personally.
Can I look after more than one mentee at the same time?
Yes, you can be a buddy to several mentees at the same time. You can define the number of mentees you want when you register. It actually makes sense to mentor more than one student because the mentees can also network and support each other. This does not necessarily mean more work for you, but it might, on the other hand, make things easier. Also, you have even more opportunities to make friends.
I don't have much time for my mentee during the exam phase.
That is understandable. The only important thing is that you are available to answer questions when the mentee first arrives and, if possible, arrange to be meet him or her personally at the station. Let your mentee know about your limited time so that they are aware.