International Buddy Program (IBP)

Wesleyan International Students

What is the International Buddy Program (IBP)? 

The International Buddy Program (IBP) aims to make incoming international students feel welcome in the campus community and help them have a successful transition to studying at Wesleyan and living in Middletown. The program matches new international students ("Junior Buddies") with returning international and U.S. students ("Senior Buddies"). Senior Buddies serve as a resource for one to two incoming Junior Buddies from the summer before they arrive through their first semester at the University. They offer that first Wesleyan peer-to-peer contact, guidance, and friendship, which can make a world of difference for incoming international students who are preparing to join the campus community.

IBP was originally coordinated by members of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB). In Summer 2022, the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) began coordinating the program. OISA provides training for Senior Buddies prior to fall semester and oversees the planning, coordination, and assessment of IBP. Matches are made with academic and personal interests and time zones in mind.

Senior Buddies and Junior Buddies meet in person at a welcome event for the program hosted by OISA after new students arrive on campus for fall semester. 

Goals of the Program

  • Establish a near-peer informal support network between first-year, self-identified international students and returning international and U.S. students
  • Increase near-peer engagement beyond academic settings to foster intercultural exchanges, self-awareness, and awareness of others
  • Encourage help-seeking behaviors and effective use of campus resources through peer-to-peer guidance 
  • Support first-year international students to have a successful transition to the United States, Middletown, and Wesleyan
  • Enable mentorship and friendship-building opportunities for program participants through peer-to-peer interaction and community-building events 

Senior Buddy Responsibilities & Takeaways

Senior Buddies are expected to:

1. Commit to being matched with one or two Junior Buddies through the fall semester (depending on how many Senior and Junior Buddies sign up for the program the ratio may change, but we aim for 2 Junior Buddies: 1 Senior Buddy). 

2. Be willing to connect virtually with your Junior Buddy(ies) over the summer via email or other communication methods.

3. Connect with your Junior Buddy(ies) on a regular basis during the fall semester: meeting in-person once a week is encouraged and connecting at least twice per month is expected, provided that your buddy(ies) continue to reciprocate your dedication to building a friendship together.

4. Attend an OISA-led virtual training session via Zoom in June that will focus on intercultural competency-building and enhancing awareness of incoming international student needs and campus resources for supporting their transition.

5. Have short, periodic check-ins with the Assistant Director of International Student Engagement who will be your OISA professional staff main point of contact and support resource throughout your experience in the program.

6. Attend monthly, optional program events with your buddy(ies) to come together as the IBP community and have fun!

By participating in IBP as a Senior Buddy, you will have a unique opportunity to build friendships with one/two new international students and support them in their adjustment to Wes and Middletown. You will be able to guide and mentor them informally and expand your own worldview through learning about their cultures, identities, and lived experiences while also sharing your own.

You will also have the chance to participate in fun program events, skills enhancement workshops, and a debrief for Senior Buddies at the end of the Fall 2023 Semester when you can share feedback with OISA and engage in a discussion on leveraging your IBP experience to pursue other volunteer and professional opportunities in the future.  

Junior Buddy Responsibilities & Takeaways

Through participating in IBP, Junior Buddies have the special opportunity to meet and develop a friendship with an upperclass Wesleyan student who will help guide them as they adjust to studying at the University and living in Middletown during their first semester. Junior Buddies are expected to:

1. Connect with your Senior Buddy over the summer via emails and in person during the fall semester.

2. Have short, periodic check-ins with the Assistant Director of International Student Engagement who will be your OISA professional staff main point of contact and support resource throughout your experience in the program.

3. Attend monthly, optional program events hosted by OISA that bring together the IBP community. 


The Senior Buddy application for Wesleyan students who will return to campus for the Fall 2023 Semester is now open. To apply to be a Senior Buddy, complete this short application by Sunday, May 14, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Returning international and U.S. students are encouraged to apply!    

The Junior Buddy application for incoming international students will be sent out via a pre-arrival communication from OISA in May and also posted here on the IBP webpage. Stay tuned!