PIASTA Welcome Buddy Program
Are you new to Hamburg?
Welcome to PIASTA’s Welcome Buddy Program! Whether you are attending the University for just one or two semesters or doing an entire degree program here, a welcome buddy will make your start easier. Welcome buddies are students in higher semesters at Universität Hamburg who volunteer to make contact with people from all over the world.
You already study at Universität Hamburg and would like to get involved?
Great idea! As a welcome buddy, you are not only helping an international student; you are also gaining new experience, making new contacts, and taking part in PIASTA activities alongside other welcome buddies.
Step 1: Who can apply?
- new international students who would like support at the start of their studies from a Universität Hamburg student
- Universität Hamburg students in at least their second semester who would like to help international students get their studies off to a successful start and who are interested in intercultural exchange
New students from Germany cannot apply. The program targets only new international students.
Students are matched up primarily around the start of the semester in March/April and September/October. We try to pair suitable buddies within roughly 2 weeks of receiving the online registration forms. On occasion, this process can take a little longer, as it is difficult to find buddies for up to 500 new international students—especially in September/October! Therefore, we ask for your understanding.
Step 2: To-dos and important information in advance
New international students
While you wait to be paired up, you can acquaint yourself with the to-dos that you, as an international student, need to take care of in Hamburg and at the University.
- See To-Dos for New Students for a checklist.
As a welcome buddy, you can take part in one of our short digital training sessions so that you are best prepared to support new international students starting their studies. These sessions provide all the information you will need as a buddy. You can ask questions about the PIASTA Welcome Buddy Program and get to know other welcome buddies. You can also learn about what you have to take care of as a new international student with the brochure To-Dos for New Students. We are happy to answer your questions at the training session.
If you wish to have your intercultural activity confirmed at the end of the semester, you must take part in the training session.
Step 3: Get in touch with each other
As soon as we have found a suitable partner for you, you will receive a welcome email with further information and your buddy’s email address. Take the first step and send an email!
After that, you can decide together how you want to communicate with each other and plan your first welcome meeting. Virtual Zoom meetings are a good way to get to know each other if the international student is not yet in Hamburg but already has questions while preparing to study abroad. Remember to keep the current coronavirus regulations in mind.
Current coronavirus regulations
What if we do not get along? What if we have nothing to talk about? It is always possible that the match between buddies just does not work. Do not worry; that is not a problem. Send us an email at piasta-buddy"AT"uni-hamburg.de so that we can match you up with a new buddy, if that is what you would like.
Interested in contacts and networking?
If you would like to network with other students and buddies who take part in the PIASTA Welcome Week or the PIASTA Welcome Buddy Program, for example, or if you have questions or want to plan some shared activities, sign up for the PIASTA for New Students Facebook group.
Step 4: PIASTA Welcome Week
Before the semester starts, PIASTA organizes Welcome Week, which takes place at the beginning of the winter semester (September / beginning of October) and the beginning of the summer semester (end of March / beginning of April). The PIASTA Welcome Week is a good opportunity for all new students to prepare for their studies at Universität Hamburg, get to know the campus and the city, and meet other students. As a new international student, you should not miss it!
Step 5: The semester is underway!
Before you know it, you will be in the thick of the semester and will have an array of leisure activities to choose from.
- Take part in a buddy meet-up! We will let you know about the dates by email. This is a great opportunity to meet other buddy pairs and chat about your experiences.
- Here is another good idea: go to a PIASTA event together. Take a look at our current program—you are certain to find something suitable!
- Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram to stay informed.
Step 6: Recognition of your involvement as a welcome buddy
Welcome buddies who want to receive confirmation of their intercultural activities at the end of the semester can contact the Welcome Buddy Program coordination team at piasta-buddy"AT"uni-hamburg.de. To receive confirmation, you need to take part in a training session, commit to roughly 18 hours per semester, and answer a short online questionnaire about your experience as a welcome buddy.
Successful participation in the Welcome Buddy Program can also be recognized as Component C: International Campus of the Certificate Intercultural Competence (CIC). German and international students at Universität Hamburg can receive the CIC free of charge. It serves as recognition of intercultural involvement and is an additional distinction for students. Successful participation in 3 of the 4 components is required to earn the certificate.