• Updated
06 January 2022

Buddy System: welcome and integration programme

Thanks to an agreement between the ENS and the Buddy System - ESN France, from January 2022, the ENS-PSL's International Relations Department (DRI) is setting up a new welcome and integration programme for exchange students at the ENS.

While this opportunity is beneficial for international students, it also has many advantages for ENS-PSL students.

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Before their arrival in Paris and during their stay, exchange students sometimes feel a little lost: finding accommodation and administrative procedures can be tedious. A local student who has already experienced all these steps can play an essential role in the integration of an international student in France and at the ENS.

How does the Buddy System work?

The Buddy System sponsorship programme has already proven its worth through ESN France, one of the branches of the Erasmus Student Network, an international non-profit association whose aim is to represent international students in Europe.
It is an online platform where local students (normaliens élèves, normaliens étudiants, mastériens and Sélection internationale) and international students can register by giving information about their interests, their passions and the languages they speak. On the basis of this information, the International Relations Department will form 'matches' between an ENS-PSL student, called a 'mentor', and one or more exchange students, called 'mentees'. The goals are to promote intercultural exchanges, improve the integration of international students and encourage students to go abroad.

Why become a mentor?

While the mentoring programme has many advantages for international students, it is also enriching for ENS-PSL students. Meeting native speakers allows students to discover or deepen their knowledge of other cultures and to improve their language skills, particularly with a view to their next trip abroad.
Accompanying one or more exchange students is also a good way to change perspective and rediscover one's own culture, to gain perspective and insight into the challenges of living abroad. Finally, this human adventure encourages the development of skills that are valued in the professional world (relational, organisational, communication, etc.).

What can I do with my Mentee?

In general, the mentor can decide for himself what activities he wants and can do with his mentee, respecting his expectations and wishes. The first thing that goes a long way to making the international student feel welcome is to pick the student up at the train station or airport. Then, a short guided tour of the ENS-PSL and its surroundings will provide some initial orientation. Throughout the semester or the year, the mentor can, for example, show the student his or her favourite places in Paris, share activities, have a coffee and organise outings with friends.


A brief history of the Buddy System

Created in 2013 by four students from Lille following a year abroad with the Erasmus+ programme, the BuddySystem was supported by the University of Lille and distributed through the ESN France network. Since June 2015 and the second version of the platform, more than 25,000 users from 145 nationalities have experimented with the BuddySystem and about 10,000 pairs have been created by our local coordinators in 30 French cities.

Practical information:

If you are interested in this adventure, please register via the following link.
For any questions, contact or .