ASLA-Fulbright Buddy Program

The ASLA-Fulbright Alumni Association invites all Fulbright Finland grantees to participate in the 2018-2019 ASLA-Fulbright Buddy Program!

Do you want to sign up as a Buddy for a U.S. grantee?

>> Fill out the Buddy program participation form!

 


 

For more information, please contact Alumni Coordinator Karoliina Kokko at Fulbright Finland

Tel: +358 44 5535 268

Karoliina.Kokko@Fulbright.fi

 

My Fulbright Buddy, Ilkka has been a lifesaver in helping me get all the administrative stuff about moving to a new country out of the way. He showed me around the university and the city, and helped me register with the magistrate, where I got my Finnish ID number that allows me to do things like get mail and open a bank account.

- U.S. Fulbright Fellow 2018-2019 -

 

Fulbright Buddy Program Aims:

The program seeks to connect Fulbright alumni living in Finland with arriving U.S. grantees to encourage intercultural exchange and mutual understanding. It provides new grantees with a reliable and motivated, local community member for their basic questions regarding their stay in Finland.

The buddy system aims to:

  • Alumni welcome U.S. grantees to Finland.
  • Build on the practical information and cultural knowledge presented at the Fulbright orientation.
  • Encourage connections and continued mutual understanding between Finnish and Americans affiliated with the Fulbright program.
  • Provide an opportunity for Finnish and Americans to build relationships, networks, and cultural exchange.
  • Reduce the initial confusion and culture shock faced by grantees.

What is a Fulbright Buddy?

The aim of the Fulbright Buddy Program is to connect Fulbright alumni living in Finland with arriving U.S. grantees to encourage intercultural exchange and mutual understanding. The primary responsibility of a buddy is to help the arriving grantee get settled into life in Finland by welcoming them to Finland and offering advice and guidance regarding packing, moving, and adjusting to the culture. After the grantee eases into life in Finland, the buddy introduces the American grantee to the local arts, culture or sport depending on the personal interests. It is suggested that you meet with your buddy at least twice during the grantee’s period in Finland. Of course, we encourage more meetings than two, but it is up to both the alum and the grantee to decide if more meetings are wanted and/or needed.

Buddy Responsibilities:

Pictures from the buddy event during the fall 2012 orientation for U.S. grantees
The activities shared will depend on the interests of both the alum and the American. It is up to the alumni buddy to initiate the communication and make follow-up inquiries and invitations. It is important to note that all grantees also have the support of their host affiliations, but the depth of those relationships vary, so the grantee may or may not be reliant on the information and activities you share. We see the relationship between the alumni and grantee as a twoway exchange, as both individuals share cultural knowledge about their home country. It is suggested that you meet with your buddy at least twice during the grantees period in Finland. Of course, we encourage more meetings than two, but it is up to both the alum and the grantee to decide if more meetings are wanted and/or needed. Popular activities have included sharing a meal, attending a cultural or sporting event, enjoying a sightseeing trip around the area, connecting via email or phone, and enjoying a picnic and/or holiday celebration.

Suggested Contact with your Buddy:

  • Send your buddy an email introduction (introduce yourself, ask if they have questions, date of arrival, etc.) no later than the first week in July.
  • Offer to meet your buddy at the airport or train/bus station at their arrival.
  • Meet at least twice (or more) during the grantees stay in Finland.
  • Help grantees connect with individuals, groups, or organizations in their interested field of study and/or personal interests and hobbies. You can help them make connections in Finland.
  • Follow up with the grantee monthly via email, cell phone, or SMS.

Tips for Successful Buddy Experiences:

  • Ensure an open communication between the grantee and the buddy.
  • Establish a rapport with the U.S. grantee and act as a de facto cultural ambassador of Finland.
  • Be patient with the process, it may take time to get to know your buddy and we hope that you are willing to take the time