To help you transition to your life in Montreal and McGill, the Buddy Program connects new international students with returning students. They provide the friendly face, helping hand, and first Montreal friendship that can make a world of difference for new arrivals. Buddies can also offer linguistic support, cultural guidance and information about life at McGill.
Now in its 30th year, the Buddy Program has helped thousands of international students - over 900 last year - settle into McGill and Montreal. Volunteers and new students are paired on a rolling basis during the year, allowing new students to be in touch with their buddies over the summer and winter. There is no hard deadline for signing up, although it's important for both volunteers and new students to sign up before the term begins in order to ensure a smooth pairing.
The program offers a lot of things that new students can benefit from, including linguisitic support, cultural guidance, and information about life at McGill! Typical activities that new students and buddies engage in include showing new students around campus, locating popular must-see attractions and other local amenities in Montreal, discussing Montreal neighbourhoods to find apartments, and even bonding over a cup of coffee.
After a decade of work serving international students in the United States, Emily has returned to McGill where she completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees. In her role at ISS, Emily will organize events such as International Student Orientation and the International Buddy Program. She will also lead the team’s outreach and communications to students through social media, a monthly newsletter, the website and email. Emily tends to travel to places that begin with the letter P. For instance, she has travelled to Panama, Peru, Paris, Provence, and would soon like to visit Poland.
Gaurav Karna is a junior-year student at McGill studying Cognitive Science and Computer Science. As an international student and a user of the Buddy program since its initial conception, he understands the importance of having the first connection the program facilitates. Now scaling larger than ever, Gaurav developed and deployed the entire platform to make it more accessible to McGill students around the world. He aims to devote all the time and resources it takes to ensure your Buddy experience is the best it can be. In his spare time, Gaurav enjoys working on side projects, hanging out with friends, and playing soccer. Check out his GitHub portfolio!
Rhys Arrieta is a current McGill undergraduate student, studying Cognitive Science in the Arts & Science Interfaculty program. Through his work as Coordinator for the 2018 Arts & Science Orientation, he has developed both the skillset and genuine desire to facilitate the necessary transition for incoming students. Having also experienced residence life in his first year and now working as an active member of McGill’s Peer Support Centre, Rhys empathizes with many of the students looking for the initial guidance through the Buddy program. He is committed to doing his absolute best to work for these students and to help provide a seamless transition into McGill.
Ashley is currently a Master's student studying English Literature at McGill. She is the contact point for all inquiries and engagements directed through our social media platforms, and she is the lead on website maintenance. In addition to her position at ISS, she also works in the Assessment and Learning unit of Student Services. Since leaving the west coast of British Columbia for graduate school, Ashley has enjoyed becoming acclimated to Montreal culture and improving her French. She has also lived in several U.S. states, and continues to travel internationally for academic conferences.