Be a buddy to our new international students

Are you interested in meeting new people from different cultures? Do you want to increase your chances of getting a place at another university abroad later on? Or do you want to improve your language skills? Then the Buddy Programme is for you!

The mission of the International Buddy Programme is:

  • To help new international students familiarise with their new surroundings
  • To promote a sense of community among Varndean students
  • To give Varndean 2nd year students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and a more global perspective and learn other cultures.
  • To give Varndean 2nd year students the opportunity to enhance their CV or university personal statement.
Sign up for a Buddy

Studying in a new country and experiencing a new culture can be very exciting but it can also bring lots of challenges. International students are often for the first time away from home, their friends and family. Varndean International Buddy Programme has been created to help bridge the gap and make the experience of our international students in the UK and at Varndean a pleasant and successful one.

We encourage and support

  • Individual connections between current students and new international students

  • Multiculturalism

  • Activities that promote integration into college life and Brighton

What can a new international student expect from the international buddy programme?

  • Connect with a current student by email before arriving

  • Find a familiar face around college on the first days in college

  • A helping hand to navigate the college and systems

  • Participation into activities/events organised by the international department to support the scheme

If you would like a buddy please contact us at visit the International Office.

Volunteer to be a Buddy

Download an application form

Please return your application form to the International Office or email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is expected of me?

  • You will be expected to take the initiative and contact the students you are buddying, ideally, before they start college.

How many students will I be buddying?

  • Between 1 and 3, depending on the number of applications from new students and the number of Buddies available. You can decide how many students you wish to buddy

Will they be doing the same subjects as me?

  • Not necessarily but we will try as much as possible that at least one of the subjects is the same.

When will I know who am I buddying?

  • Claudia will contact you by email as soon as you have been matched with a new student. This is usually before the beginning of the academic year in Sept or Jan.

What do I do then?

  • Email the student(s) to introduce yourself. They will have been sent your details so they will know who you are. Tell them a bit about living in Brighton. It´s really up to you…think what YOU wanted to know at this stage.

What happens next?

  • You will meet students on the first day of college, we arrange and informal welcome lunch. After this we organise an outing, normally a visit to London or a show in town.

Where should we meet?

  • Most people meet up in the canteen or at the international office. Make sure you meet in a public place

How many times will we meet?

  • It´s up to you. It´s good to have meetings in a group if you can arrange it, or even to meet up with another Buddy and students that he/she is buddying. That way, the new students get more opportunities to meet others in the college.

Am I expected to become a real friend for the students I am buddying?

  • No. The relationship is a semi-professional one. You might not get on that well on a personal basis but can still maintain the buddying role. However, we can predict that many buddy-new student pairings will lead to firm enduring friendships.

What is the main difference between being a Buddy and a mentor

  • There are many similarities, but the main difference is that a Buddy is a more informal arrangement.
  • A mentor requires that you focus the relationship on a particular subject or specialism whereas for a Buddy this is not a requirement. If you are a Buddy, you will not necessarily be studying the same subject as your Mentee. As a Buddy, you will focus on providing support for personal/social/cultural/linguistic issues and to do this you will need to build rapport with your mentee.

You can really benefit from being a Buddy and helping new students.

Through the scheme you will develop invaluable skills and confidence, you’ll also be able share your experiences and knowledge for surviving student life and making the most of your time at College

You will also receive:

  • Full training on mentorship skills
  • A Certificate of Achievement presented to you at a special event in June
  • Full support and resources from our friendly staff
  • Share 2 outings with mentees Lunch and tickets expenses included
  • References for your CV and Personal Statement