International students often have difficulty adapting to a new learning, living and socialising environment in foreign countries. At the University of Johannesburg (UJ), international students are immersed into a Buddy System, an initiative designed to help international students adapt to a South African University culture as well as to live in South Africa as a whole.
A buddy is a student who takes a group of new international students under his or her wing to help them adapt to the UJ environment. This extends to introducing the international students to local culture through social events and excursions. One of the popular students’ events at UJ is the International Student Festival, which forms part of UJ’s Diversity Week campaign which brings together staff and students from various cultures and backgrounds.
The UJ International Office honoured students, staff coordinators, and the UJ International Student Society members with certificates to acknowledge their positive contribution to building and maintaining good relations with foreign students. UJ staff coordinators in the International Office serve as judges during the International Student Festival, and also as mentors to the peer buddies for guidance.
Advantages of being a buddy
- Receive formal training from the Student Services Bureau and the International Relations Office.
- Receive a certificate from International Relations after completion of the term as a buddy, proving extracurricular participation at the University.
- This can add to impressive Curriculum vitae.
- The opportunity to learn about foreign culture. Students willing to be in the Buddy System can contact the International Office on 011 559 2528 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.