The AU Buddy Program is a long standing tradition of the Abroad at AU program. The AU Buddy Program is a unique opportunity for international students, here for one semester or a year, to be paired with current American University students as a mentor and friend on campus and in Washington, DC.
The AU students have returned from their semester or year abroad and know what it is like to visit another institution and complete coursework, internships, or travel in a different country. This program is beneficial for both AU Abroad alumni and incoming Abroad at AU students. Many buddy pairs have remained friends for years and even traveled to visit one another across the globe after completing the program!
The Abroad at AU program welcomes approximately 150 international students to campus each year to study for a semester or year. Over the past 10 years, the program has received students from over 80 countries. Once the students arrive on campus they are often confronted with language barriers, culture shock, loneliness and academic stress among other worries. The buddy program was created to facilitate a smoother transition into life on campus and into the local community for the international student.
To ease the transition to campus for international students by providing a more comfortable space for the students to engage with American University students. It also provides an opportunity to educate each other about their cultures and countries, life experiences and perspectives. It is hoped that the students share many experiences and become friends.
How the Program Works
New Abroad at AU students are paired with an AU student in the weeks before coming to campus. It is informal where students from different countries andcultures can become friends and share in cultural exchange. Abroad at AU students can ask their AU buddy questions prior to arriving on campus about course work, housing, and student life. Buddy matching is based off the compatibility questionnaire; we will do our best to match students based on location and interests but we cannot guarantee that your buddy will have studied in the same country/region as you or speak the same language (other than English, of course!).
Participation in the buddy program does require a commitment. We hope that students reach out to their buddies in the week or two prior to arrival on campus. AU buddies are a great resource for Abroad at AU students to ask questions about housing, what to pack, DC, American University, or any other questions they may have! Once both students have arrived on campus, we ask that they meet in person at least once during the first week of classes. This is important as the semester can get busy quickly and we want to make sure that the students get to know one another as soon as possible. Sometime in the beginning of the semester, Abroad at AU will host a special buddy event where all the Abroad at AU students and their new buddies can come together for games and snacks! After the initial meeting and this event, the schedule is up to each pair! The buddies should decide how often to meet and what type of activities they are interested in doing together. Many students simply meet for coffee in the Dav or for lunch in TDR, but some students choose to visit other spots around DC together. We ask that at a minimum students meet with their buddy in person at least 2 additional times during the semester. Abroad at AU will host various events throughout the semester which Abroad at AU students and their buddies are always invited!