The BGU buddy system matches incoming international students and post-docs with local Israeli students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Local buddies help international students navigate life in a foreign country, including integrating them into life at BGU, providing support for administrative procedures, one-on-one tours of useful areas of the city and university, and guidance on local traditions. Each of these elements help international students feel a part of the BGU student community and feel at home in Israel.
The pilot program, which was just launched this year at BGU, included 18 pairs of international and local students. Because of COVID-19, the program proved even more important as it helped us at BGU International and the Student Union identify specific needs during the students’ initial quarantine which was required upon arrival.