Below you can read an interview of a buddy family (buddy kid and buddy mentor) in semester 1 of 2020-2021.
Buddy kid, the experience of Klaudia Gawronska
Why did you sign up to become a buddy kid? I signed up to become a buddy kid because I was in need of social contact. All of the new international friends I made were a part of ESN and its buddy families, so I decided to give it a shot as well.
What were your expectations of the Buddy Program, and did they come true?
I hoped to be able to participate in some activities or to just meet some people within the family. That all came true and was better than expected until February, when the curfew was implemented. From then on, it was rather quiet and only now we are coming back to meeting up. Fortunately, by the time the curfew was implemented, I had already made some friends on my own.
How were the first weeks with your buddy family?
The first weeks were a bit different for me than for others, because I was added much later. Therefore, my buddy family already knew each other. That turned out to be no problem and we still had lots of fun. We participated in the laser game evening that was something very new to me (and totally not in my comfort zone!). We had some tea together, met up for dinner, pumpkin soup etc. It was totally lovely!
What is the funniest thing that happened within your buddy family?
As we did not manage to meet up that often due to COVID-19, there were not that many funny things that happened and which come to mind. However, I remember when we made plans to make soup at one of the girls’ houses. She was not home by the time all of us had gathered to make the soup. She found us in her living room when she came back from jogging, completely baffled. Apparently, she had the hours completely mixed!
Buddy mentor, the experience of Carlien van Dam
What does being a buddy mentor mean to you? Being a buddy mentor means to me meeting new (international) people and making new friends and doing fun activities with each other like celebrating sinterklaas, or mountain biking. And sometimes answering questions about how things are organized in the Netherlands.
What did you feel your role as a buddy mentor was? For me it was just being one of a new group of friends. I also tried to organize some activities like Sinterklaas and dinners with each other to make sure that it was a success. This worked really great until the curfew started; and our options of meeting up with each other were limited because of that.
How were the first weeks with your buddy family? Our buddy family started after the AID. We continued as a group within ESN. This meant that we already knew each other. A few people were added afterwards to the group by ESN.
Which activities did you do with your buddy family? It was kind of hard to meet up, especially the last few months with the curfew in place. But activities we managed to do, are: having a barbeque at my parent's place, go for a small bike trip, chilling at each other's places and having dinner with each other, celebrating sinterklaas, having an autumn saturday when we ate pumpkin soup and went for a walk to see the autumn leaves etc. And we also met/meet up in small groups within the family to have dinner or mountain bike with just two or three people from the family. So, in a nutshell ESN is a great way to make new friends and do activities that friends do with each other. 😉
How often did/do you meet with your buddy family? It really depends on the size of the group. Most of the time we met with just three or four people from the entire group, because of the limitations on group size. We did this every two/three weeks, maybe just for dinner. For a few of the bigger activities we were with one or two more, but those were really limited because of the rules.