The Buddy-Programme Natural.PALS

The Buddy-Programme Natural.PALS initiates subject-specific study-partnerships between local students and new international students in Natural Sciences at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

As a local student, you support an international fellow student as a peer-tutor in the introductory phase of studies: You share your „inside“ knowledge of the particularities of study organisation, teaching and examination as well as methods and learning strategies.
As an international student, you gain orientation at the faculty, the university, and in Bochum, and establish first contacts to local and international fellow students.

The programme startet in autumn 2017 at the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology. Since winter semester 2018/19, the Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Faculty of Geosciences have taken part in the programme as well.

> Flyer (pdf)
> Leaflet (pdf)
> Article on (07/2019)
Article on (01/2018)



Why should I participate?

As an international student, you benefit from the knowledge and experience of your Buddy as a first peer-contact at your faculty. You receive support in subject-specific matters and in acquainting yourself with your field of studies. Moreover, you meet fellow students from all over the world, gain experience in working together with people from different cultural backgrounds and improve your intercultural competence. This way, you acquire transferable skills beneficial both at university and in globalised working environments.

You can read testimonials of former participants here (currently in German only): ⇒Testimonials.

Who can participate? – Prerequisites for participation

The following degree programmes take part in the buddy-programme:

  • Biology (BSc and MSc)
  • Chemistry (MSc)
  • Biochemistry (MSc)
  • Geography (BSc)

Students in these degree programmes are eligible if they meet the following prerequisites:

  • (prospective) international students
    – higher education qualification or first university degree acquired abroad and
    – enrolled in the 1st or 2nd semester of one of the above-mentioned degree programmes
    Please note: Applicants in their 1st semester will be considered with priority.
  • as local students | peer-tutors: Bachelor’s students in at least 3rd semester or Master’s students (1st semester or higher) at the time the programme starts

We expect all participants to be open-minded, interested in other cultures, and reliable.

Buddy-Programme Bachelor Buddy-Programme Master
international students: 1st year
local students: 3rd semester or higher
international students: 1st year
local students: 1st semester or higher

How is the programme scheduled?

After the application deadline, we will try to find a complementary Buddy for you through a matching procedure.

Throughout the semester, you will meet with your Buddy regularly for individual peer-tutoring sessions which you plan independently. For example, you can prepare or wrap-up course contents, discuss assignments or texts, or prepare for exams. At least half of the overall time of your meetings, you should work on study-related or subject-specific topics; the remaining time may also be used for cultural or other activities.

At three central events (Kick-off Meeting, Reflection Session, Final Meeting), you will meet other participants, share your experience, and exchange ideas. Finally, you will reflect upon your experiences in a concluding report.

Local peer-tutors additionally attend an initial training to prepare for their task as a peer-tutor, and participate in an intercultural training. At the end of the semester, a feedback panel will take place.

The exact schedule of the programme is different for local and international students, and also varies depending on your degree programme. Detailed information can be found here: ⇒Schedule.

Can I get (transferable) credit points?

Students of the BSc and MSc programme Biology can have their participation recognised for elective modules (BioPlus/Optionalbereich) by 4 Credit Points (CP).
Within the MSc programme Chemistry, the Buddy-Programme can be recognised as a part of the module Practical Science and Communication. For details, please refer to the respective module description.
As a student of one of the other degree programmes, you can choose the less extensive certificate-variant of the programme – in this case, you will receive a participation certificate in the end.

How can I participate?

Detailed information on how to apply can be found here: ⇒How to apply.