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Here is an example for a model of implementing buddy system. The Hebrew University case study:  

 

 

The pilot for the Buddy program at the Hebrew University was inspired by meetings with the Erasmus Student Union (ESN) as part of the ERASMUS+ WILLIAM project. The goal is to provide international students a greater opportunity to participate in the local Israeli student experience, akin to extant Buddy programs in Europe. After advertising through the local student union and interviewing the most promising candidates, the planning team selected 15 Israelis for the HUB (Hebrew University Buddies) project on the basis of their English level, attitude and willingness to commit to the program. The prospective buddies attended a one-day training seminar, in which they were briefed about international students and their study programs, as well as the responsibilities and expectations associated with their role as ‘informal ambassadors.’

Each pair of Israeli buddies worked with a group of some 7 international students. The buddies were to keep in contact with their students through a WhatsApp group, attend monthly Student Union events and advertise various activities to their students. The Israeli students were also encouraged to invite their group to spend time together in Jerusalem. The pilot program, was limited to international undergraduate exchange students, who from our experience are the most enthusiastic about social interaction.

The program began on orientation day with a ‘meet-up’ between the Israelis and the exchange students. The next day, everyone was invited to an opening event in the city center, and some 60% of the international students attended. The next official event took place a month later, with a relative drop in attendance. Subsequent events did not take place as planned because of cancellations by the Student Union. With regard to ‘informal outings,’ despite numerous suggestions on a weekly basis, students as a whole were not interested or were too busy to spend time with their local buddies. As a result, the buddies became more of a resource that the international students could go to for advice about ‘where to go’ in Jerusalem and Israel as a whole.

The plan for the Spring semester is to increase the number of official events that buddies attend together. Hopefully, increased structure will lead to more informal meetings. In the coming weeks there will more brainstorming sessions with the buddies themselves, with the goal of increasing participation.

 

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