International Affairs
Eine Gruppe Studierender © Ulrike Zillmer-Tantan
Buddy Module

The Intercultural Buddy Program module is a seminar where volunteer TU buddies reflect on their experiences and organize social events.

Module vs. program

The intercultural Buddy Program module is targeted towards all TU Berlin students interested in mentoring an international exchange student during their stay at TU Berlin. It encompasses practical aspects such as settling in at TU Berlin and the city as well as opportunities for language and cultural exchange or sharing experiences.

In addition the volunteer component, module participants reflect on their interactions with their buddy through written exercises and organize cultural and social events for all buddies and other interested students.

The module encompasses 3 ECTS and is a continuation of our volunteer Buddy Program. In order to take this seminar, you must participate in the volunteer Buddy Program and successfully complete the Intercultural Basic Qualification module. This module is offered at the start of the lecture period each semester generally in mid-march and mid-September.

Who or what is a buddy?

Buddy is another word for friend. In the program, we match a TU Berlin student with an exchange student (incoming student). They are each other's buddy.

If you are an international exchange student and would like support from a buddy when you arrive at TU Berlin, make a note of this in your application for study abroad at TU Berlin. After your application is processed, the Buddy Program coordinators will assign you a buddy.

How do I sign up?

To register for the module, please complete the Buddy Program registration form. Be sure to also check the box “Zusätzliche Anmeldung zum Buddy-Modul.” All registered students will receive an invitation to an ISIS module at the start of the semester.

We will usually accept registrations for summer semester until mid-March and for winter semester until mid-September. Please note that the number of participants is limited, first come first serve. After registration has closed, all students will receive an email and might be asked to prove they fulfill the admission requirements. To register for the module examination, contact the relevant examination team in the Examination Office.

What does the module consist of?

The service learning module begins with an orientation event for TU buddies, providing a general introduction to the program. This is followed by a kick-off event, where all the buddies meet each other. During the semester, the buddy pairs arrange individual meetings.

The TU buddies guide the international exchange students throughout their stay at the University. They assist with any questions about studying at TU Berlin, settling in at the University, and integrating into social life. The international buddies share their culture and insights about Germany with the TU students.

Participation in the regular meetings (Stammtische) and selected social events as well as intercultural commitment (e.g. participation in info events, International Week, Welcome Week, etc.) is mandatory.

Students complete an e-portfolio during their participation in the Buddy Program. This consists of

  • documenting interactions with your buddy
  • reflecting on cultural encounters

Parts of the e-portfolio will be read and evaluated by at least two other participants.

A final event for all buddies is held at the end of the semester.

You can complete the Buddy module as part of the "Fachübergreifendes Studium" component and earn 3 credit points.

What are the participation requirements?

You must take the Intercultural Basic Qualification module or submit proof of equivalent knowledge and skills which is then approved by the Department of International Affairs, Student Mobility and International Students (INT SB).

The module is open to all TU Berlin students.

What are the learning outcomes?

After successful completion of the elective module, you will,

  • have gained an understanding of intercultural differences and challenges and can respond appropriately in individual situations
  • have strengthened your social and communication skills and gained an overview of the importance of intercultural diversity
  • be familiar with strategies which allow you to embrace cultural differences in intercultural teams and productively use these in work contexts
  • have improved your foreign language skills (depending on your buddy's home country)
  • be motivated to approach foreigners openly and confidently and can report on relevant experiences
  • be able to support international exchange students during their stay at TU Berlin
  • be open to a stay abroad (study abroad, internship abroad, language course, summer or winter school)

What does the module encompass?

  • Reflection of intercultural experiences on the basis of the information, guiding questions, and exercises provided by INT SB in the Buddy Handbook and on the module website
  • Reflection of your own cultural standards
  • Learning about other cultures and perspectives
  • Acquisition of intercultural communication and social skills, i.e. ability to understand or work with people of other cultures
  • Acquisition or improvement of language skills
  • Information about the experience of international exchange students at TU Berlin and in Berlin Networking between international exchange students and TU students

How does the module end?

The module is completed with an ungraded portfolio assessment in the form of a e-portfolio which includes:

  • Documentation of buddy meetings 20%
  • Written reflection for selected questions about your participation in the program 60%
  • Qualified written feedback about other students' reflections 20%

Each assessment component is worth 100 points. The number of points you earn for each component are multiplied by its weighting factor, added together, and then divided by the sum of weighting factors. The result shows the total number of points achieved in the module examination.

You must earn at least 50 points total to pass the module. The module is graded on a pass/fail basis. A grade is not assigned.

How is the workload distributed?

Orientation event2h
Kick-off event2h
Closing event2h
Meetings with your buddy15 weeks x 2h30h
Participation in social events, regular meetings6h
Intercultural commitment (e.g. participation in info events, International Week, Welcome Week, etc.)6.5h
Preparation of semester meetings3 x 1h3h
Semester meetings (3 meetings)3 x 2h6h
Portfolio assessment
Documentation of buddy meetings (e-portfolio)15 weeks x 0.5h7.5h
Written reflection for selected questions about participation in the program (e-portfolio)3 exercises x 5h15h
Qualified written feedback about other students' reflections (e-portfolio)10h
Total sum90h

When does the program start?

The registration period for winter semester 2023 is scheduled for 1 August to 19 September 2023.

You must have completed the Intercultural Basic Qualification module. This is held as a compact seminar every March and September.


Ulrike Zillmer-Tantan

Module coordinator

apl. Prof. Dr.

Christiane Griese