How staff can support the Global Buddies scheme
Global Buddies is a peer support programme for international undergraduate and postgraduate students coming to the University of Edinburgh organised by the Students’ Association.
This year Global Buddies will be open to all new international students and is no longer only for visiting students. The University is supporting the expansion of the project as part of a programme of mitigation activity to maintain the quality of its student experience despite the implications of the Covid-19 epidemic and social distancing.
The programme aims to support students as they transition into a new academic and cultural environment. At the same time, Global Buddies gives current students at the University of Edinburgh an opportunity to learn about other cultures and to meet people from across the world. The service will have a stronger digital component to allow participation regardless of location or time-zone – online international buddy groups will operate in their own time zones to make the service accessible to remote learners.
Supporting more students means an increased need for volunteers to act as Buddy Group Leaders and Supergroup Leaders. These group leaders are trained in communication, leadership, global citizenship, and signposting. They provide Global Buddies with a valuable first point of contact, help newcomers adjust and make friends and will be involved in delivering socially-distanced welcome activities.
How can staff help?
There has been a high level of uptake amongst new international students and the focus for staff should be encouraging current students to apply for roles as Buddy Group Leaders and Supergroup Leaders.
Each Buddy Group is made up of 20-25 new international students and two Buddy Group Leaders (current students at the University of Edinburgh) The Buddy Group is the most direct point of contact with the Global Buddies Programme. Buddy Groups meet on a regular basis, either in person or online.
Six Buddy Groups make up a Supergroup. Each Supergroup is looked after by two Supergroup Leaders who organise activities and check-in with Buddy Group Leaders on a regular basis to make sure everyone enjoys the programme. Supergroup Leaders act as the liaison between their Supergroup and the Global Buddies Committee.