Friendship is one of the most valuable gifts, one would say. However, finding those people that would potentially be 'right up your street' and ready to help you out when in need proves to be a more difficult task than expected. 'No pain, no gain', another one would add. But how does this have anything to do with our network? Well, it's simple! All the Erasmus+ students coming to the UK are looking forward to meeting British people. Sometimes, their expectations may hit rock bottom because making British friends seems more difficult than initially thought. Do not get me wrong: this is not because the British students do not want to befriend Erasmus+ students! Far from it! The truth is that when you are an incoming Erasmus+ student, having to speak in a completely different language than your own and cope with so many cultural differences, you may find it difficult to express yourself and communicate. Or you may just feel shy or homesick and do not feel like throwing youself out there in the crowd and start making friends.
ESN Southampton has found the perfect solution to this. The cheerful committee from this ESN UK local section has set up their own Buddy Scheme. The principle of a Buddy Scheme is that people sign up on their site, http://esnuk-soton.org/buddy-scheme, and ask for a British buddy or volunteer to befriend an international student and so help them around. Those signing up are also asked for their main interestes and languages they can speak and want to practice, thus making sure that the Buddy Pairs that will be matched by the system are going to make a lot of people happy.