Global Buddies

Global Buddies connects Birkbeck alumni with new international students during their first term of study to help them settle in.

International students face additional challenges when coming to live and study in London. The aim of Global Buddies is to welcome students to the Birkbeck community and support their transition to life in the UK.   

Share your experience

As a Global Buddy you can make a real difference to a student’s Birkbeck journey by:

  • Welcoming students to Birkbeck.
  • Signposting students to services, support and opportunities at Birkbeck.
  • Sharing tips for how to make the most of their time at Birkbeck and living in London.
  • Encouraging students to get involved with student life.
  • Enabling students to practice conversational English.

Interested in taking part?

Alumni will be matched with an individual or small group of incoming international students. Where possible, we try to match buddies based on interests, course of study, shared languages and meeting preferences.

Before meeting with their student(s), alumni buddies are invited to a briefing to ensure they are fully prepared to participate. They will meet with their student(s) at least once, either face-to-face or virtually, before the first term ends. 

If you have any questions about Global Buddies, please contact Julia Chapman at

Key Dates

Wednesday 11 January 2023 Volunteer applications close on midnight, Wednesday 11 January,
Wednesday 18 January 2023Online briefing for new Global Buddies volunteers, 6 pm
Thursday 19 January – Friday 24 March 2023Matches to meet at least once between Thursday 19 January and Friday 24 March.
Wednesday 29 March 2023Global Buddies Celebration event


“Now that I’ve been in the UK for a few years and have a bit of a roadmap for adjusting to a new culture, it is great to have an opportunity like global buddies to share my knowledge! I was assigned two global buddies and it was really wonderful to see my buddies find friends in each other, and for all of us to share our experiences with moving to the UK.”

Global Buddy Volunteer 21/22, Jennifer P

“I was new to London and Birkbeck and as an international student, I really benefitted from being matched with a member of the Birkbeck alumni community and a fellow new student. My alumni buddy shared a range of resources and even now, we stay in touch and send resources and careers links to one another.”

Current student, Taiwo A

“It’s an amazing experience! It’s great to have the opportunity to share your experience and advice to help make the journey of a new student easier.”

Global Buddy Volunteer 21/22 – Christina P