The AUSA Buddy System

New international students who do not have family and friends in Auckland may find it challenging to make their transition. They have to complete a lot of paperwork, integrate into Kiwi life and battle homesickness in the first month away from home.

Having experienced this journey, AUSA Buddies provide personal support to ease the transition of new international students.

Looking for the sign up form? Click here

The role of AUSA Buddies

To be the person that new international students can turn to for personal support.

It is expected that AUSA Buddies would commit to at least one face-to-face meet up, which can be:

  1. meeting up at a café to explain processes for key administrative processes such as applying for student visa, an IRD number, to convert a driving license, to obtain a suitable photo ID (i.e. 18+ card); or
  2. taking a walk down Queen Street to show them the nearest supermarket and stationery store, buying a phone card, and loading their tertiary concession onto the AT HOP card; or
  3. any other creative ideas that you may have!

Who are we looking for?

  • An existing international student at the University of Auckland
  • Commit to building a friendship with the new international student, for Orientation 2018 and Semester 1
  • Around for a few days during the Orientation period:
    • Move-in Week
    • UoA’s Orientation Week
    • Orientation Week
    • Week 2 Semester 1

How will I be supported in my role?

An information booklet distilling all useful information for new international students will be given to you to keep your reference. Additional copies will be printed for you to pass to the new students. A 1.5 hour training session will also prepare you for your role.

The International International Volunteers Coordinator (AUSA) will be contactable throughout Orientation period, via email as well as her phone number.

I’m keen, what happens next?

  1. Tell us your name and contact details in this form here
  2. You will be contacted via email and added into a Facebook group for AUSA Buddies.
  3. You’ll need to participate in a 1.5 hour training session for AUSA Buddies during Orientation period on either 22nd, 23rd or 24th February.
  4. You will be matched with at least two new international students who want a Buddy, based on your availability & their schedules.
  5. Arrange a meet up with them, and tell us how it goes!

Rewards for AUSA Buddies

  1. Recognition as an AUSA Volunteer
  2. Invitation to internal events organized by AUSA, including AUSA Volunteers’ Camp, and access to other opportunities
  3. Ability to ask for references from AUSA and to have this on your CV
  4. Access to other opportunities that may be of value to an AUSA Volunteer

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are AUSA Buddies paid? No, this is an initiative that runs on the goodwill of existing national and international students. This is the first pilot run, and your participation will greatly determine its effectiveness! However, your participation in the programme and completion of your obligations will entitle you to a reference from AUSA. This sort of volunteer experience will look great on your CV.

2. How are AUSA Buddies different from UniGuides? UniGuides support new students in navigating the university environment, but this does not necessarily include lifehacks on Auckland & New Zealand. International students require information specific to settling down, which UniGuides may not be trained to provide.

Moreover, according to our survey, only 15% of UniGuides keep in contact for 1-2 months. We hope that AUSA Buddies can offer stronger support through a more enduring relationship.

3. If I am a UniGuide, can I still be an AUSA Buddy? Yes, you can! AUSA Buddies meet their newbies in their free time. The timing is flexible and can be arranged between you and your newbie.

4. Do I keep in contact with my newbie even after Orientation? Yes, we would love you to. After meeting up once or twice during Orientation, we would like you to stay in contact with your newbie for Semester 1. A text or email fortnightly will do, and a catch up every now and then is encouraged.

5. How will the success of the AUSA Buddy System be evaluated? We will listen closely to your feedback. Feedback will be collected from both Buddies and newbies through online forms. Forms will be sent in the 3rd week of Semester 1, 8th week of Semester 1 and at the end of Semester 1.

6. I still need more information before I commit to this role… Sure, thanks for thinking it through. You can email Tatiane Jacobs, the International Volunteers Coordinator (AUSA) at