Our college years are commonly said to be ones we will never forget and often wish to relive. Surrounded by more people than we will ever have the chance to meet, college is a time to learn and grow with those who we are fortunate enough to establish relationships.
The International Buddy Program provides a chance to establish those relationships with students from the 80 different nations represented at Auburn.
The program was founded by Beth Anne Dawson and inspired by international student evaluations of the ESL program upon completion.
“At the end of the program the students complete an evaluation and almost all of them said they wished they would have met an American friend,” said Dawson.
Nearing the end of its first year, the IB program has had 70 buddy pairs and seen great success. International and American students are sharing their day-to-day lives and cultural practices, providing a unique chance to understand the world around through its people.
“More than half of international students leave the United States never having stepped inside an American home,” said Dawson. “When American students started coming to me searching for a way to connect with internationals, I wanted to bridge the gap.”
International Buddy applications are now being accepted for next semester. Applicants are paired with one international student with whom to build a relationship with and help adjust.
In the future the program will have an international paired with an Auburn student prior to their arrival ensuring an immediate welcome.
“Most of the internationals come to Auburn without a car,” said Dawson. “The hope is that these relationships can be as simple as offering to join you when going to the grocery store.”
For more information and to apply to be a buddy, visit http://www.auburn.edu/academic/international/esl/ibp.php and look for them on the concourse for the next two Odays.