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“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Luc van den Akker

International Student Ambassador Programme opening ceremony

MAASTRICHT. What is the best place for students to open a bank account? ING Bank, “because they have a free account for students,” says Grace Marshall from student platform  MyMaastricht . The fact that this bank was in the news regarding a major money laundering scandal this week doesn't seem to bother her. She was the third speaker last week during the opening ceremony for the International Student Ambassador Program (ISAP), the programme in which senior students (buddies) take care of and accompany new students (newbies). There is a buzzing during the speeches, a sign that the newbies feel that they are taking too long.

Newby Alex Shtykov from Kazakhstan started International Business last week and signed up for ISAP because he knows absolutely nobody in Maastricht. “I missed the Inkom because of problems with my visa so this way I will quickly get to know a few people. It is also a good thing to have someone to turn to if something goes wrong.” He has already been conned. “I arranged to have a room while I was still in Kazakhstan. I transferred some money for rent and heard nothing after. My money was gone. Had I arranged it through my buddy, this would most likely not have happened.”

“Most questions are about housing,” says Jonty Small, master's student of Data Science for Decision Making and a buddy for the third time this year. “Other than that, the questions are about the faculty and where the newbies can buy bicycles and furniture. I always point them in the direction of Facebook groups on the MyMaastricht site.”

A total of 53 buddies and 450 newbies signed up for the programme. Both groups have to write a short motivational letter, organiser Jake Norman explains. “Many buddies who were previously newbies, are full of praise for the programme. Super sweet. They don't receive anything for participating, so it is even more special to see how involved the senior students are.”



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