USM Student Buddies

USM Student Buddies

With globalisation and internationalisation taking the world by storm, are you ready to step out?

Are you ready to enrich yourself with the experience of befriending students from across the world without having to cross borders? Are you ready to welcome the world to our doorsteps? Are you ready to face the world at home?

An Exchange Student’s experience is defined and shaped by the company he or she is in while away from home.

Apart from being there physically, one can only experience the life of a nation through its people.

The contribution of a Buddy Student or Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is to be the link to all these experiences. Hence, it is a great honour to serve as a Buddy, for you are in a sense an ambassador for the country.

“The Buddies” introduced by the International Office since 2005 has been one of the platforms to internationalising students through the World @ Home Programme.

Buddy Student:  just a buddy or more?
Buddy Student:  a buddy and more…

The evolution of the idea of a Buddy Student (or Buddy) began when a group of culturally diverse students started volunteering at the USM International Office (IO), at the time when the university first adopted the “by students, for students” policy.

Initially, Buddies were the assistants behind the scenes assigned to help IO officers in any IO activity. However, over the years, the role of a Buddy Student has evolved by leaps and bounds. Today, the roles are reversed to allow Buddies develop leadership skills under the guidance of experienced IO officers. Buddies are now proactive leaders not just locally but internationally. By enabling Buddies to plan, develop, organize and lead various activities of an international nature, Buddies are forced to break out of their comfort zone and into a whole new arena.

Being a Buddy, a long-term investment?

The job scope of a Buddy Student is very wide and never boring! Activities organized by the USM IO take place all year round, and none of it is ever the same. And the best part is anyone and EVERYONE will have a part to play – be it organizing, helping, drawing, singing, dancing, cooking, anything! This is because, at USM IO, we believe that every student must have something that they do best, and by allowing them to do something they love doing is the perfect way to help students achieve their full potential.

Students are always welcome to offer their valuable help, no matter how big or small, in any of the IO events such as:

  • International Cultural Fiesta
  • Coffee Hour Day
  • Colour One Malaysia
  • Homestay Programme
  • Orientation Week
  • Hosting visiting universities

If you think being a Buddy is all about work and no play, you are wrong! Buddies are a cool bunch of students who know when to have fun. Besides organising activities for others, Buddies can also join in the action themselves. The opportunities presented to Buddies are endless and not merely limited within USM. Buddies who perform well are able to:

  • Go on visiting trips to foreign universities
  • Attend short exchange programmes to partner universities
  • Be an ambassador of USM to all sorts of international events
  • And more!

Learning through Teaching

The art of learning is to gain knowledge by teaching others. Buddies are like ambassadors of Malaysia to all incoming Exchange Students. And as the first person Exchange Students make contact with, Buddies have no choice but to be articulate in every little detail about Malaysia, Penang and USM. The simple task of educating and Exchange Student about the local culture actually deepens the appreciation and patriotism towards one’s home country.

Moreover, a mutual understanding of the diverse cultural background each Exchange Student comes from is also essential. Buddies not only learn about their own culture and customs but the culture, customs and beliefs of others as well. By truly understanding the multi-cultural world we live in, Buddies eventually develop a unique and globalised worldview.

How far does it take you?

Apart from the many possibilities to mingle with and learn from the Exchange Students, the commitments of a Buddy Student go beyond the formal affairs between the Exchange Students and the USM IO.

Buddies also forge lasting bonds with the Exchange Students by integrating the Exchange Students into their daily lives. Buddies can introduce local favourite hang-out spots and activities such as the beloved Mamak sessions, the never-ending food hunt around Penang Island, the ‘happening’ night scenes in town, a good kick or two of the football with locals, or the colourful and exotic cultural activities all over Malaysia.

Typical “buddy” activities include showing international students around campus, locating banks and grocery stores near the university, helping with an apartment search, giving international students a lift in their cars (if they have one), or just plainly chatting over a cup of coffee.

The experience you go through with the Exchange Students will not only forge friendships that last a lifetime, but will also make you see a whole new Malaysia through the eyes of a foreigner as you teach and learn about things you can never learn in the confines of a classroom.

Just a gentle reminder…
When you are a student, your world revolves around you and your studies. But, how far can an academic education take you once you leave university? With globalisation, and internationalisation taking place faster than mushrooms popping up after the rain, it is best to leverage on the opportunities offered and put your education to good use.

So, take a step out of your comfort zone and step up to the plate! Grab this one-a-lifetime chance to develop valuable leadership skills in a global context without even having to cross borders.

Buddies’ Objectives

  • To assist international students in acclimatizing to their new environment and surroundings
  • To motivate and assist international students to build a cohesive university culture
  • To be USM’s mini-ambassador
  • To encourage interaction and exchanges of opinion between international students and local students
  • To help build and expand social networks that transcend borders, countries and continents

Come over to the USM International Office to find out more!

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