News - April 8, 2016

Rewards for buddies

Linda van der Nat

Students who act as mentors for international students during the AID will from now on be asked during the introduction days whether they would also like to be buddies. If they say yes, they get one year’s free membership of IxESN and 50 euros for an outing with their buddy group.

Photo: Sven Menschel

Previously students were already asked whether they would like to be buddies as well when they signed up as AID mentors. Being a buddy means continuing to get together with their ‘kids’ for at least six months after the introductions days. ‘We noticed that many mentors found the distinction confusing,’ says Paulie Jager, student of Nutrition and Health and buddy coordinator at IxESN. ‘They didn’t understand the difference between a mentor and a buddy.’ It is also difficult for students to estimate beforehand whether they will want to stay involved with their group after the AID, because they don’t yet know how well they get on with them.

The international student association is keen to recruit more members, says Paulie. ‘Buddies always get a year’s free membership of IxESN, which gives them a discount on activities and excursions. They also get 50 euros for an outing with their buddy group. What we get out of it is more enthusiastic members who enjoy helping international students find their way around in Wageningen and the Netherlands. It is always difficult to find mentors and buddies, so we hope this gives us a bigger pool to fish in.’

IxESN will now give presentations about exactly what the buddy programme entails at the AID training sessions for mentors. The student association is also making plans for an event at the AID that will draw attention to the buddy programme. ‘It’s very nice to be a buddy; you get to know a lot of people from all around the world, you can practise your English and get to know other cultures.’