Buddy Club VSU was created to help international students who came to VSU on exchange programmes adapt easily. This place helps them get used to a new environment. Buddy Club holds various events that have a favourable impact on the university life. I had a chance to talk to one of the students who help international students to adapt. Her name is Yana Stchednova. She is a second year student from the Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology of Voronezh State University.
“What does your organisation do?”
“Our club helps international students who came to study at VSU on exchange programmes. We meet them, help them with organisational issues, and help them adapt to a new environment. In other words, we do everything possible to make international students feel comfortable and not to be bored during their stay in Voronezh.
We also organise events that help them learn more about cultures of different countries, for example “Language tandem”, “International Cuisine”, “Literature meeting”, and so on. These are the main areas of our work”.
“What made you take part in the activities of the club and how long have you been doing it?”
“I joined the club a year ago. I’ve been interested in volunteering since school and when I was in the first year, I read about Buddy Club and thought that it was a wonderful opportunity to put to work my knowledge of English, to help international students, and to learn more about the cultures of different countries.”
“Are many students interested in Buddy Club?”
“I think so. Unfortunately, last year, due to the pandemic, international interns could not come to Russia that is why our students were not very interested in the club. But this year, we finally met the interns and have been working actively with them. As a result, many more students chose to join our organisation.”
“What is the most memorable event for you that you have ever held?”
“Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to take part in events with the participation of international students. As I’ve said it was due to the pandemic. Last year, we had very few events. Yet, the most memorable for me was the “Language tandem”: we presented spring festivals which are celebrated in different parts of the world and compared them with those we have in our culture. That was very interesting and educational.
This year, soon we will have a “Welcome party” for the new interns. The preparations are in full swing and I'm sure this event will be just as memorable.”
“Are there any special requirements for the club members?”
“The most important thing is to be truly interested in the activities and the development of the club. And to walk the walk. We are always eager to admit active and responsible volunteers who want to try themselves in a new activity. And if volunteers want to be “buddies”, that is advisers for international interns, they have to know a foreign language. Mainly English.
Photo from an archive by YANA STCHEDNOVA