Moving to a new country to start a new life chapter can be daunting, but Trinity eases the anxiety by offering a buddy program to new Foundation Studies students.
Yuma Tamura (above right) discovered an untapped opportunity when she joined Trinity’s Residential College. As an international student who had initially come through Trinity’s Foundation Studies program, she felt that those living on campus could offer another layer of support to Foundation Studies students, especially given many were living out of their home country for the first time.
‘As an international student myself, I saw that Foundation Studies students wanted to make social connections, understand Australian culture better and get more information about university life based on real experiences,’ says Yuma. ‘I realised that these are the kinds of things our residential students could offer.’
Thanks to Yuma’s initiative, Trinity College’s Foundation Studies and Residential College buddy program was born.
The buddy system partners up new international students from Foundation Studies with students living on campus in Trinity’s Residential College. As a result, students from both parts of the college get to know one another, can offer and find support, and can share cultural experiences. ‘Mentors from the Residential College become our international students’ first point of contact when they have cultural, academic and day-to-day questions,’ says Yuma.
Pri Parekh is another buddy who started in Trinity’s Foundation Studies program before moving on to the Residential College. ‘I didn’t have a buddy when I first came to Australia, so that’s why I am so passionate about helping out with this program,’ says Pri. ‘As a former FS student, I realised the importance of getting help from local students. Sometimes you need advice on course planning or just basic advice about where to buy certain things and good places to eat.’
As a domestic residential student, Angus Craig saw the opportunity to develop Trinity’s inclusive culture by participating in the program as a mentor. ‘I believe it’s important to ensure there is a strong relationship and great culture between the Residential College and Foundation Studies communities,’ says Angus. ‘The buddy program is an amazing opportunity for me to learn more about the experiences of FS students, and for them to learn more about the college and university.’
Dennis Qian (above middle) got so much out of the program as he transitioned from Foundation Studies to the Residential College that he decided to sign up as the program’s liaison officer. ‘Trinity College and Melbourne Uni has shaped my experience of Melbourne into a memorable, educational, and thrilling experience, and I wanted the opportunity to provide the same level of support and guidance to Foundation students as I received myself,’ says Dennis. ‘Helping coordinate this program means I get to give back this support, while also allowing myself to further integrate into Trinity college and community life.’
The buddy program is student driven, with pairs deciding how often and when they’d like to meet, usually four times per semester or more. Once per semester, buddies are invited to attend a formal dinner in our beautiful dining hall, with their mentors acting as host.
Trinity's Foundation Studies and Residential College buddy program will start up again this semester.