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 on

Registrations for Spring 2024 now closed. Registrations for Autumn 2024 will open in August.

Programme Timeline

Volunteer Registrations CloseMidnight, Wednesday 17 January
Global Buddies Matches AnnouncedMonday 22 January
Global Buddies Launch Event Wednesday 24 January
Mid-Programme Check InWednesday 21 February
End of Spring ProgrammeFriday 22 March


“Studying at Birkbeck was a wonderful experience for me. I appreciated all the support that was available from Birkbeck to help me succeed and wanted to support incoming international students to navigate life at Birkbeck and in London. We connected over our shared love of art and culture, and I drew upon my experience of using the careers service at Birkbeck.”

Akima, Global Buddies Volunteer 22/23

“Thank you for this platform! these little details help more than I thought they would! The little things like where to shop for food, how to travel out of London and what to do outside of class really made the difference for me. My conversation helped to put my anxiety and excitement of moving to a new place into perspective”

Global Buddies Participant 22/23

“It is great to be able to help someone achieve their dreams – for students in general, but especially for those coming from abroad, there is usually a lot at stake and expectations are high. Education is paramount, so helping people (however briefly) in their journey to achieve a degree is particularly rewarding.”

Christie, Global Buddies Volunteer 22/23