University Buddy Scheme

The University Buddy Scheme offers friendship and peer support to help you feel at home and part of our community, as well as enjoying getting involved in student life. The scheme is open to all students and you can apply at any point during your student journey. You'll be matched with a new or returning student from anywhere in the University at the same study level as you and with someone who has similar interests.

 

This page was last updated on 1st December 2022.

What’s the Buddy Scheme?

The University Buddy Scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for you to get to know someone new who you might not otherwise meet. Apply for the scheme if you want a buddy with similar interests.

We hope that this scheme will help you to share the experience of settling in (or settling back in), exploring, taking part in activities, and making friends and connections.

It aims to help you feel more immersed in campus life and to broaden your network by matching you with a student from outside your academic school. If you want to be matched with a student/students from your school, check your school’s welcome page for information on any peer support schemes offered. 

The scheme was developed from an idea that came from students, who submitted it through the Leeds University Union forum. Our one-to-one buddy opportunity is adapted from the popular buddy scheme developed by Leeds University Business School.  

Why should I apply to the University Buddy Scheme?

Whether you’re new to Leeds or not, you can join this scheme at any point of your university journey to meet someone new and share the experience of being a student at Leeds.

Have you just arrived in Leeds? Have you returned to your studies after a break? Simply want to meet someone new? The University Buddy Scheme will give you the opportunity to make new connections and support each other while in Leeds and (hopefully) beyond. 

How do I apply for a Buddy? 

Apply for the Buddy Scheme

I’ve applied for the scheme, what happens next? 

It can take a couple of weeks to match you. Once we’ve found you a match, you’ll receive a ‘Meet your buddy’ email. This email will have the contact details of your match and some documents with information and ideas on activities that you can do together. It’s now up to you to get in contact with your buddy and start connecting. 

The email address you’ll be contacted from is noreply@sumac.ac.uk. Please check your junk folder regularly. 

University Buddy Scheme Guidance

What makes a good buddy? 

Buddying is a relationship built on trust, openness, honesty and mutual respect. A good buddy is someone who is:  

  • approachable and supportive  
  • able to share experiences 
  • proactive about their own development 
  • self-aware, non-judgmental and objective.  

An effective buddy will:  

  • be a fellow traveller to share the experience of settling in (or settling back in) 
  • build rapport and create a safe space to share issues or challenges, hopes and successes 
  • explore the purpose of the buddy relationship and what each buddy wants to achieve  
  • explore activities and options that will help buddies to move forward.  

How can I get the most out of the buddy relationship? 

Buddying is a two-way process which means that both of you will have to work at making the relationship a success. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of the experience.

  • Be motivated and willing to commit the time and effort to the relationship 
  • Be clear on the purpose of buddying and what you need from the relationship  
  • Be open to new ideas and approaches 
  • Be willing to share your experiences, insights and learning  

University Buddy Scheme FAQ 

How do I join the scheme? 

Fill in a short application in the ‘How can I apply for a Buddy?’ section above on this page. Tell us about your hobbies and what you hope to get out of the scheme!

Do I have to join the Buddy Scheme at the start of the year? 

No. You’re welcome to join the Buddy Scheme at any point in the academic year, whatever year or programme you’re in.

What should I do with my buddy?  

It’s up to you and your buddy to decide! When you receive the ‘Meet your buddy’ email you will find a ‘Do it together’ resource pack which has lots of ideas about activities to try and join together, including our weekly Global Café. You might decide to meet for a coffee, go for a walk around Hyde Park, explore a new area of Leeds or study together.  

The great thing about the Buddy Scheme is that it is very informal and you can go to events with your Buddy, meet up for lunch or just hang out. It is up to you, just make sure you and your Buddy have discussed what you feel comfortable with when meting up. Why not meet in a public place on campus for coffee or come to one of our Buddy Scheme events together? 

My buddy isn’t what I had in mind 

We hope this will not be the case but if you feel you have nothing in common with your buddy or can’t benefit them, please email buddyscheme@leeds.ac.uk and we will try and resolve the situation. Please be open with your buddy and tell them how you feel.  

If you would like to be matched with a new buddy or feel you are not being supported in the way you expected, please email buddyscheme@leeds.ac.uk and we will see what we can do to make your experience a better one.

My buddy isn’t replying to me 

If you have emailed your buddy and haven’t heard anything back please let us know by emailing buddyscheme@leeds.ac.uk and we’ll see what we can do. It is possible to match you with someone else. 

I no longer want to be part of the Buddy Scheme 

Please email buddyscheme@leeds.ac.uk or complete this form to withdraw from the buddy scheme.  

It is absolutely fine to opt-out of the scheme if that’s what you feel you would like to do, we just ask that you notify us so that your matched buddy is not left on their own. We are able to match them with someone else. 

Can I practise a language through the Buddy Scheme? 

This is something that can happen naturally as you build your buddy relationship but it’s not the main focus of the Buddy Scheme – our aim is to connect students and encourage peer support. 

If you are looking for language support visit the Language Zone or come along to Global Café.  

More opportunities to connect and belong

Other ways to meet people

As well as having a welcome buddy and being part of a buddy group, there are lots of other ways to get to know people

  • Want to connect to a student in your School? Check your school welcome page for peer support schemes and other activities available.

  • Looking for someone who is of similar age, cultural background, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity specifically? Find your place in one of the many Leeds University Union Clubs and Societies.

  • Our Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC) is hosting the Connections Buddy Scheme – specifically for undergraduate students aged 21+ when they commenced their studies (mature students) and students parented by the Lifelong Learning Centre. This scheme will introduce you to students who are the same age/have similar life experiences and/or interests as you! The LLC also run other events and activities to connect mature undergraduates from across the University. Keep an eye out for their regular Mature Student Newsletter in your inbox, for details of current events, or why not follow them on Twitter for key information and updates? If you cannot find what you are looking for, please email lifelonglearning@leeds.ac.uk

  • The Buddy Scheme will match you with a student who’s at the same study level as you but if you’re a postgraduate student, you can also check the Postgraduate Hub. Are you a postgraduate researcher? Look out for opportunities to connect in the Doctoral College Newsletter.

  • Want to practice a language? Our Language Zone offers Language Exchange opportunities. You can also join student-led Language Groups.

Have more questions about the Scheme?  

Contact us by email: buddyscheme@leeds.ac.uk