What may be tough even for new native-German students can quickly become a major challenge for international students. Not only are you in a foreign country, but now you need to manage your everyday life on your own, far from home. It can be particularly complicated at the beginning – and not just because of the language barrier, but because of different mentalities and customs as well: officially reporting your residence, transferring rent money from your bank account, giving presentations, seeing professors during office hours – some help is surely warranted.
That is exactly what you will get from Heidelberg University’s Buddy Programme, offered by the International Relations Office in conjunction with various departments. In the programme, Heidelberg students assist newly-arrived international students in getting settled. From their arrival to planning their free time, setting up a class schedule and finding accommodation, new international students receive individual support. The “buddies” are experienced students with several semesters already under their belts, who have volunteered to help their fellow students from abroad get off to a good start and ease into their new life in Heidelberg.
The Buddy Programme is currently offered in nine departments: American Studies, Anglistik (English), Economics, Germanistik im Kulturvergleich (German as a Foreign Language), Geschichte (History), Medizin (Medicine), Rechtswissenschaft (Law), Übersetzungs- und Dolmetschwissenschaft (Translation and Interpreting), and Zahnmedizin (Dentistry).
The Faculty of Biology additionally offers a mentoring programme.
The Buddy Programme is designed to promote intercultural engagement of students from Germany and abroad. Practical matters take precedence: picking you up at the train station, helping you find your way around Heidelberg and its environs, introducing you to the university institutions and facilities, navigating the maze of administrative channels. But the two of you will also share your languages, cultures, and experiences (at home and abroad).
Any student in one of the departments named above is eligible to participate in the Buddy Programme – students in a bachelor’s, master’s or state examination programmes as well as PhD students and exchange students are welcome.