My experience with the buddy-program
by Janina Thiemann
I joined the Gauss Buddy Program for the second time in the summer semester 2018 simply because it’s the best way to meet new students from around the world. I was responsible to attend a Spanish, Mexican and a Korean student. Everyone contacted me on the same day I mailed them and from then on we contacted almost every day to get to know each other, clarify the first few questions and hunt for an accommodation in Braunschweig. The first personal meeting is always very exciting and full of anticipation. After my buddies arrived in Braunschweig, I helped them first and foremost with the most important bureaucratic things in life in Germany. As a gesture of appreciation I was then presented with gifts from their respective native countries.
Through the first steps (Orientation Weeks) of Gauss Friends, we all got to know each other better and also my three buddies got well along among themselves. We also networked relatively quickly with the other “buddy families” and planned the first event: a Korean cooking evening. A group of Korean students cooked for us, not just a simple dish, but a whole star menu! This was followed by a Spanish cooking evening and of course we wanted to share our food at the German cooking evening. So much variety in such a short time was a great asset and we had a lot of fun. I felt like I was doing a semester abroad.
Another highlight with my buddies was of course to watch the football World Cup. It suited perfectly that Germany had to play against Mexico and Korea (the same nationalities of my buddies). In the end, it worked better for my buddies, but that became a minor matter.
By participating in the Buddy Program as a Gauss Buddy, I learnt a lot about the countries and cultures of my buddies – and all that happened right in Germany. In addition, I now have new travel destinations that I would like to fulfil someday and I can rest assured that there would be someone whom I can visit and who can help me find my way around that country.
I already had this experience when I stayed with a Buddy of my German friend in Spain. Only then did I get to know the real Spain! The highlight of the trip was that her grandfather cooked Spanish paella for us.
As I am learning Spanish, getting to know a Spanish and a Mexican was perfect to hear the language and to try it out a bit.
I have learnt how to prepare Spanish tortilla and have tried it myself successfully. In conclusion, I would recommend everyone to join the Gauss Buddy Program!