Every international exchange student is invited to participate in the Buddy Program at UMaine. When you apply to UMaine as an exchange student, you are automatically matched with a UMaine buddy. This program was developed to help exchange students meet American students and other international students quickly so that you are able to make a new circle of friends immediately upon arriving in the States. Because you are only here for a semester or two, it is crucial that you meet as many people as possible in a short amount of time.
The Office of International Programs will assign you an American student who will serve as a “Peer Advisor.” This is a student who recently studied abroad in a foreign country, and is someone who is genuinely interested in learning more about your culture, while also serving as your personal “guide” to UMaine college life.
The Buddy Program is about friendship and support. These are people who are volunteering their time to serve as a window into American college life. We will have several events throughout the semester, which are fun and give you a chance to meet a big group of Americans and international exchange students. There is no obligation to attend all or any of these events (but we hope you will).
Participation in the program is free, and most events are without charge, as well. Every effort is made to keep events either free or very affordable to students.
The Buddies are there to provide the following type of support:
- Communicate with you via e-mail and Facebook prior to your arrival, answering your questions and providing general support
- Pick you up from the airport or bus station (when logistically possible)
- Show you around campus, help you get your books and campus ID, and more
- Introduce you to their friends at UMaine, and in some cases, their families (networking!)
Examples of Buddy Program events include:
- Welcome pizza party
- Farmer’s market
- Sporting events
- Movie nights
- Game nights
- Halloween pumpkin carving
- International Potluck
- Excursions to nearby areas of interest (e.g. day hikes)
- Trips to Boston and New York City