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Buddy programme

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam receives more than 700 international exchange students each academic year. In order to give our exchange students a warm welcome into Dutch culture and society, VU International Office and ESN VU Amsterdam have set up a buddy programme.

Below you can find more information about our buddy programme.

Buddy programme

  • Join our buddy programme

    For you as an exchange student, going abroad most certainly means a lot of excitement and perhaps also a bit of anxiety. All of a sudden you find yourself in a completely new environment where people behave differently, both socially as well as culturally. You do not know your way around and you do not speak the Dutch language. Literally everything will be new to you. That is why we encourage you to sign up for our buddy programme. 

  • Your buddy

    A buddy is a student at VU Amsterdam who can introduce you to the Dutch way of life. As a participant in the programme, you will be part of a group of approximately 75 buddies and more than 250 fellow international students. Most buddies will be Dutch students; a few will be international students who have been living in Amsterdam for a while already.

    What can you expect from a buddy? A buddy will be able to:

    • help you get settled during your first weeks by answering practical questions related to living in Amsterdam and by showing you around town;
    • help you with academic issues, such as university life, teaching styles, class schedules, campus set-up, how to prepare for exams, etc.;
    • introduce you to Dutch culture by visiting friends and families, and perhaps he or she will show you their home town;
    • join you during the social activities organized as part of the Buddy programme (picnic, pubquiz, karaoke, etc.).

    It is important to note that a buddy works on a voluntary basis. A buddy is not a professional nor an employee at the university. For matters related to VU housing, visa, course registration and so on, and for urgent (privacy-sensitive) issues, you are required to contact the incoming exchange team (see below for contact information).

  • How to apply

    When we have accepted you as an exchange student, we will send you more information about how to apply for the buddy programme. Please note that the buddy programme works best if all participants are enthusiastic, active and present during the social activities. We strive to match as many international students to buddies, however we cannot guarantee that everyone will be allocated a buddy during their stay in Amsterdam.

    For questions please contact us at

Send us a message
The easiest way to reach us is via e-mail: We normally reply within one or two working days. During busy periods it may take a bit more time.

Schedule an appointment by phone
If you have questions about the exchange programme, you can schedule a 15-minute appointment by phone with a member of the incoming exchange team. You can book an appointment on Tuesdays between 1 and 2 PM, Dutch standard time. Please use our online tool to schedule an appointment.

Consultation hour (walk-in, no appointment required)
If you have questions that cannot be dealt with via e-mail or phone, or if you need us to sign your (Erasmus) forms, please visit us in person. Our consultation hour takes place every Wednesday between 12:30 - 13:30 in the Global Room (HG-1A36).


  • Arnold Pannenborg
  • Coordinator Incoming Exchange
Arnold Pannenborg, International Officer
  • Neira Becar
  • Incoming Exchange Officer
Neira Becar, International Officer
  • Karoline von dem Berge
  • Incoming Exchange Officer
Karoline von dem Berge, International Officer