Buddy Program: Helping new PhD students to settle in faster and happier

· by Hanneke van 't Veen · in Master's and PhD students projects, Teaching and studying

What is the agreement form? Which IT infrastructure is available at GIUZ? What amount of teaching duties can I expect? Your buddy can help you with all these questions!

The Zurich Graduate School in Geography/Earth System Science has a buddy program that is designed to help new PhD students to settle in faster and happier and to stimulate dialogue between groups. Newly arrived PhD students – junior buddies – are matched to more experienced PhD students – senior buddies – outside their own group. They meet at least one time and informally discuss any practicalities, progress in the PhD studies – or even the best location for a coffee in Zurich! Are you interested?

Buddy Program of the Zurich Graduate School in Geography/Earth System Science

We had a very successful meeting online! I think the flyers were well-thought-through and put together – it definitely helped in guiding our conversation. I had a couple of doubts around the practical aspects concerning coursework and teaching, and it was quite helpful to hear my buddy’s perspective, especially considering the fact that she is from a different lab. It was also extremely helpful to hear a peer’s views on conferences, summer schools, applying for funding, vacations, etc. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my meeting with her, and I am grateful to the Graduate School for this arrangement.

PhD student, Earth System Science

In general, I find the buddy program very helpful, especially for PhD students who are new in the department or in Zurich. However, my buddy mentor and I only met once, even though the meeting was very helpful. Therefore, I think the graduate school representatives probably can give more suggestions and ideas to the buddies to increase the contact frequency between the buddies.

PhD student, Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis

The buddy program is great to have a good start at GUIZ. It is nice to have a contact for any questions about daily PhD life and how to organize in a new city and maybe new country. I would suggest to have some informal events to bring all the participants in the buddy program together, such as a barbecue or social evenings. I think that would help a lot in connecting PhD students across the department. This connection between PhD students could be a bit stronger and maybe the buddy program would be a good option to bring that about.

PhD student, Soil Science and Biogeochemistry

Hanneke van `t Veen, student representative of the Graduate School

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