Buddy Scheme

Buddy Scheme

The Buddy Scheme offers support to new students by assigning them a Buddy to help them settle into university life.

Image of two girls laughing in Union Brew cafe


Beginning university is a very exciting time however it can also be challenging. The Buddy Scheme is a fun and fulfilling programme for all involved, providing new students with support whilst providing Buddies with valuable experience and enhancing their employability skills.



Who are the Buddies?

Buddies are undergraduate students in their 2nd to 5th year of study. All Buddies receive training to prepare them for their role. 

Buddies support new students (undergraduate and postgraduate taught).

If you are unsure if you are eligible to apply to be a Buddy, please email wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk

Who do the Buddies support?

Buddy support is available to new undergraduate or postgraduate taught students. This includes students articulating from college into second or third year and undergraduate Go Abroad students.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to receive Buddy support, please email wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk


If you want to know more about the Buddy Scheme have a look through the information below. If you still have any questions, please email wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk

How does the Buddy Scheme work?

New undergraduate and postgraduate taught students can apply to be matched with a Buddy who will help them settle into life at the University of Aberdeen.  

Their Buddy will be an undergraduate student in their 2nd to 5th year of study who has received training for the role.

We aim to match new students with a Buddy from the same university school. In addition to that, new students can also request to be matched with a Buddy based on certain characteristics, such as an international student or someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community. Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that we will find the perfect match. 

What are the benefits of the Buddy Scheme?

Benefits of the Buddy Scheme for new students:

  • Having a friendly face and someone to contact on campus
  • Having someone to help you settle into university life e.g. show you around campus and Aberdeen city, give advice on university processes and procedures and signpost you to the most appropriate support services if required
  • Having someone to listen to any worries you may have e.g. homesickness, loneliness, how to make friends and give advice based on their own experience

Benefits for the Buddies:

  • Being involved in an extremely fulfilling programme
  • Opportunity to develop rewarding and valuable skills e.g. social confidence, responsibility, listening and communication skills
  • Having your participation in the Buddy Scheme recognised on your Enhanced Transcript
  • Enhancing your employability skills and your CV
  • Increasing your sense of belonging in the university community
  • Making a positive difference to a new student's experience
How does the application process work?

Applying for a Buddy

This page will be updated when Applications for a buddy are open. 

Please email any queries to wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk

Applying to be a Buddy

This page will be updated when applications to be a Buddy are open.

Following a review of all applications, we aim to get back to successful applicants as soon as possible.

If you are successful in your application, you will be expected to complete compulsory online training. 

The Buddy role will commence in Autumn 2023. 

Please email any queries to wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk



How are Buddies and new students matched?

Buddies and new students are matched based on their academic school. New students can also request to be matched with a Buddy who has specific knowledge, life-experience or background. 

Please see below the full list of characteristics that new student and Buddy matches can be based on:


*The term care-experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. This care may have been provided many different settings such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care, or through being looked-after at home with a supervision requirement.

**Advanced entry from college students, articulation route or students using access programmes

***"A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support" 

****In relation to a disability, specific learning difference such as dyslexia, long-term health and/or mental health condition. 

What qualities should a Buddy have?
  • A demonstrable understanding of the types of difficulties new students can have 
  • Good communicator, particularly adept at listening to students, facilitating discussion between them and encouraging them to ask questions 
  • Responsive to the needs of others, and sensitive to a range of personalities and cultures  
  • Good knowledge of their academic school and university policies, procedures and services  
  • Positive, reliable and patient 
  • Friendly and approachable, with a genuine enthusiasm to support new students 
What are the expectations of a Buddy?
  • Provide Buddy support to an allocated group of new students (max. 5 students) 

  • Help your allocated new students settle into university life e.g. showing them around campus and Aberdeen city, giving advice on university processes and procedures and signposting them to the most appropriate support services if required

  • Be available to meet with your allocated students from time to time, in a group or individual setting (as appropriate)  

  • Be aware of the support and advice available from the university, recognise when a student may need further support and act accordingly 

  • Encourage your allocated new students to make the most of opportunities to meet one another, become involved in campus life and develop their own support networks  

  • Complete mandatory training prior to the commencement of the academic year 

  • Maintain appropriate contact with your allocated students throughout the academic year

  • Provide feedback on the Buddy Scheme by completing evaluation materials and/or attending an evaluatory meeting

  • Maintain confidentiality where appropriate


Please note: Buddies are not expected to provide academic support to the new students they are matched with. If required, Buddies will sign-post their matches to the appropriate University of Aberdeen services such as Student Learning Service or the new students' personal tutor.

Useful contacts

If you have any questions related to the Buddy Scheme please email wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk 

Buddy Scheme School Coordinators:

School of Biological Sciences

Professor Michelle Pinard

Business School

Dr Nicola Naughton

School of Divinity, History and Philosophy

Dr Alastair Macdonald

School of Education

Gordon Stewart

School of Engineering

Dr Henry Tan

School of Geosciences

Dr Charlotta Hillerdal

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

Dr Clemence O'Connor 

School of Law

Dr Catherine Ng

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition

Dr Pietro Marini

School of Natural and Computing Sciences

Dr M. Carmen Romano

School of Psychology

Dr Mingyuan Chu

School of Social Science

Dr Tatiana Argounova-low

Terms and Conditions

The aim of our Buddy Scheme is to help new students settle into university life and to enhance the student experience of all participating students.    

By applying to be a Buddy or applying for a Buddy, you agree to the terms and conditions outlined in this document.   

Both parties will be invited to select how they would like to engage in the programme. They can choose to be:  

  1. Matched based on school and/or
  2. Matched based on experiences/characteristics 


The matching will be undertaken by Buddy Scheme team. 

The team will endeavour to identify suitable matches based on the information provided by both parties. There is no guarantee that all requests will be fully met.  

If either the Buddy or new student feels that the match does not suit their needs, they have the right to request, via the Buddy Scheme team, an alternative match. The team can be contacted by emailing wellbeing@abdn.ac.uk

Confidentiality and Data Protection   

The University of Aberdeen is committed to protecting your personal information and being clear about the information we collect and how we use it. We take our responsibilities seriously as the controller of your personal information under data protection law.  

Data collected to register your participation in the Buddy Scheme will be used for the purpose of coordinating the programme of 2023/24 ONLY and will be deleted within 30 days of the academic year ending. Please note any information disclosed will NOT be shared with other parts of the University. 

The relationship between the Buddy and new student is at all times, a confidential one. Only in special circumstances such as welfare concern, misconduct or breach of the terms of conditions will buddies seek extra support from the Buddy Scheme team, and should this be necessary, they will do so with the full knowledge of the student.