Umoja Buddy Programme

A programme that pairs newly admitted international students with current students at UFS for social, cultural and academic integration.
Whether you are international or South African, the Umoja Buddy Programme provides you with the opportunity for cultural connection and friendship. International students revealed that their adaptation process in the UFS environment was much quicker and smoother. The students felt a sense of belonging and appreciated the holistic support provided by their ambassadors.

About the programme

The Umoja Buddy Programme seeks to ensure the smooth transition and integration of international students into the student life at UFS, helping them integrate into the campus and local communities.
The programme aims to connect international and local students through meaningful lifelong friendships and foster their academic, social and cultural integration at UFS.

Designed to enhance the international and intercultural competencies of the UFS students, the programme pairs first entering international students with current UFS students that provide a warm welcoming friendly face, a helping hand, and a first UFS friendship that makes a world of difference for the new arrivals.

The programme adopts the UFS vision whereby every student will in the future have an international experience during UFS studies through internationalisation at home.

Being an Ambassador: Who can apply?

Current local or international students who have attended the UFS for at least two years are eligible to apply.

Apply to be an Ambassador.

All ambassadors are required to complete an Ambassador Training session before being matched with their Buddy. The training will be held once at the beginning of each semester. The training is not optional. The Umoja Buddy Programme is meant to provide an opportunity to promote meaningful friendship and intercultural exchange at UFS. Any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated from either the Ambassador or the Buddy. If any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour is reported, the participant at fault will no longer be permitted to participate in the programme.

The ambassadors are expected to meet with their buddies at least two times per month. The Office for International Affairs will host events each semester specifically meant for participants in the Umoja Buddy Programme. Relationships can be further developed through shared meals, community engagement activities, sightseeing, and holiday celebrations. As an ambassador, we recommend that you share information with your Buddy about the culture and customs at UFS. Share your knowledge with them! Show them the best lunch spots on campus or your favourite local store. Ask them about their home country and how life is different for them here at UFS. Get to know them and let them get to know you. While you are strongly encouraged to regularly spend time with your Buddy, please remember that this programme is designed for friendship and intercultural exchange. Though friendship cannot be guaranteed, if you meet with your Buddy regularly, you will have many opportunities to learn about their culture through their eyes and also share your own cultural experience with them.

Matching is based upon availability, personal interests, age, and gender. We will do our best to make sure you are paired with a buddy who has some common interests with you, but with whom you can also have meaningful cultural interactions. Cultural differences between you and your buddy are inevitable. Remember to treat these differences with respect. If these kinds of differences are leading to negative interactions with your buddy and you are uncomfortable continuing in the programme, please contact Bulelwa Moikwatlhai ( to discuss other options.

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