Information Welcome Buddy
Welcome Buddies are local students who give newly arrived international students in Hamburg some guidance and help to settle in and to find their way around the university. All students (either German or international students) enrolled at Universität Hamburg for at least the second semester and with a German language proficiency level B2 or better can be a Welcome Buddy. Local students are welcome to participate in the program multiple times.
What are the responsibilities of a Welcome Buddy?
Starting at the end of the semester (the beginning of August or the beginning of March), the Hamburg Buddies should be reachable via email and then be in Hamburg at the beginning of the semester. The PIASTA team will provide you with the information materials you need to be a good mentor. Since the program is based on voluntary participation, the buddies can decide together how often they want to meet and what they want to do. You can support your buddies in the following ways:
- Pick them up from the train station / airport when they arrive in Hamburg.
- Help them to register their address at the registration office.
- Take them on a short city tour: Where are some of the most important things?
- Give them an initial tour of the University. Where can you find important university facilities such as the library, cafeteria, University Sports, Services for Students (SfS), and Regional Computing Center?
- Help them settle in—Hamburg nightlife, shopping options (e.g., farmers markets and flea markets), where to get an inexpensive bicycle, what doctors you would recommend, etc.
- Provide them with contact persons for further questions and problems.
How do I apply?
Students who have been in Hamburg for some time and would like to welcome a buddy apply here.
We will enter your information into the system and try to match you with a buddy. Please understand that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a buddy for you.
Please note: Some faculties at Universität Hamburg have their own buddy program. Exchange students in these faculties should apply there directly:
How are the matches made?
The matches are made based on the studentsʼ field of study and similar interests. Unfortunately, we won’t always be able to match you with a buddy who has the language you requested! But we will, of course, make sure that you have a common language so that you can communicate.
What if we don’t get along? It is always possible that the match between two buddies just doesnʼt work. Don’t worry. This isn’t a problem. Just send us a short email so that we can match you up with a new buddy (if so desired).
Why should I volunteer as a Welcome Buddy?
Helping another student get started is a way to promote cultural exchange between students in Hamburg and international students because as you spend time together the similarities between your everyday life and life in general will quickly become apparent. As a Welcome Buddy, you have the opportunity to get to know students from other countries and experience different cultures firsthand. You can expand your horizons, improve your language skills, and become part of an international community. Helping Incoming Buddies find their way around Hamburg and a new culture is a great way to prepare yourself for your own study abroad period. And perhaps some of these acquaintances might turn into a new language tandem or friendship.
Will my work as a Welcome Buddy be recognized?
Successful participation in the Buddy Program can be recognized as Component C, International Campus of the Certificate Intercultural Competence (CIC). German and international students at Universität Hamburg may earn the Certificate Intercultural Competence. This program is free of charge. It serves as recognition for intercultural involvement and is an additional distinction for students. Successful participation in three of the four components is required to earn the certificate. Please click here for more information on the certificate.
FAQs—frequently asked questions
Do you have more questions about the Buddy Program?
Are there problems or difficulties with your buddy?
Would you like to tell us about your positive experiences with the Buddy Program?
Then please email us at: email@example.com