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YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy Program

Are you in? Become a part of our network! Get involved! Connect with others around you!


Since 2009 the YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy Program facilitates a variety of matters regarding arrival and settlement of international students in Hamburg and at the HCU.

Every new international HCU student may request a personal Welcome Buddy who will establish contact in the middle of August/end of February and is available for questions on how to get started with life in Hamburg and at the HCU. Newcomers get, amongst others, information and assistance on settling residence permit issues, opening a bank account, finding the right health insurance or getting a mobile phone contract.

The HCU Welcome Buddies show their new fellow students the HCU campuses. Additionally, they can point out the sports facilities in Hamburg and popular hangout spots in the city as well as provide shopping tips and much more.

The Welcome Buddies are HCU students from advanced semesters who volunteer to help international newcomers. Participation in the HCU Welcome Buddy program is open for both German and international students and, of course, it’s free and fun!

Why and for what reason does the YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy Program exist?

- Studies at the HCU are perceived to be more interesting and motivating for both local and international students,

- The socio-cultural integration of international students upon their arrival and during their stay at the HCU is backed up,

- The exchange of cultures and languages is promoted and

- The interest in foreign experiences for local students is aroused/ strengthened.

Facts and figures:

Since the 2010 summer semester a total of 419 YOU@HCU Welcome Buddies and 548 first year students and exchange students (as of SoSe 2016) have (re)discovered Hamburg and the HCU together.

During the 2015/16 winter- and 2016 summer term, 111 newcomers from 39 countries took advantage of the YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy Program. Below is our colorful HCU Welcome Buddy Program doughnut chart (as of SuSe 2016):


What do these international newcomer students think about the HCU Welcome Buddy Program?  Here are some of their thoughts in their own words:

 It is super thank you!  I liked it very much and it helped us in our first days. My Welcome Buddy is a super Buddy; he is interested in all problems of mine and did as much he could do...!”

Thank you! I've got the best buddy ever! Without him my start in Hamburg would be much harder”

“My buddy did an excellent job, helped me with moving in at the student housing, meeting me the next day for drinks, getting for me all the necessary information needed for my visa, and knowing exactly where I have to go, even when I sent her a message once early in the morning asking where to get my photo taken for the visa procedures she called me back to give me exact descriptions. She used to always send links of how it can be possible for me to get a scholarship and about general events in the city that may interest me. I think one of the most helpful things is that she also studies Urban Design like me, and it was really interesting having all the insider tips into the program.”

The majority of our international students who had a HCU Welcome Buddy are convinced that the HCU Welcome Buddy Program has been very useful and recommend it also for the new incoming students!

YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy Programm participants (according to the study programmes)

And what about the motivation of HCU students to get involved as a Welcome Buddy? Here are a few answers (in German):

 Durch mein eigenes Auslandssemester in Tokyo habe ich gemerkt, wie gut es ist, einen Studenten zu haben, der einem am Anfang in einem fremden Land zur Seite steht. Diese gute Erfahrung würde ich gerne weitergeben!“

Ich kann mir gut vorstellen wie es ist, als Austauschstudent in ein fremdes Land zu kommen und auch ich wäre dankbar für eine nette und aufgeschlossene Begrüßung und Betreuung.“

Ich hatte einen Buddy letztes Jahr, als ich neu an der Uni war, und es war sehr hilfreich. Deswegen finde ich super, dieses Jahr anderen neuen Studenten zu helfen.“

Habe gerade ein Auslandssemester gemacht und weiß aus diesem Grund, wie man sich fühlt, wenn man ankommt und welche Infos man braucht. Würde gerne solchen Leuten helfen.“

Als ERASMUS-Student habe ich diesen Service an der Partnerhochschule genießen dürfen und fühle mich nun verpflichtet einen Teil zu seiner Aufrechterhaltung beizutragen :)

Ich denke, dass ich Spaß daran hätte, mit den ausländischen Studenten in Kontakt zu treten und ihnen beim Einleben zu helfen.“

Ich freue mich sehr, für die nach Hamburg kommenden Studenten da sein zu dürfen, teilen sie mir gern mehrere Studenten zu, um die ich mich dann gern kümmere!!!“


If you would like to have a YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy or are interested in becoming one, please send an email with your name and degree program to welcome-you(at)hcu-hamburg.de.

We wish all participants of the YOU@HCU Welcome Buddy program a lot of fun and joy and hope that in some way or another this can be the beginning of a long friendship across borders!

I'm New and I Want a WELCOME BUDDY !

Just arrived and looking for someone who knows the ropes to show you around Hamburg or give you secret tips on being successful at the HCU? Just fill out this form and we'll find the perfect welcome buddy for you.

"Tell me, I’ll forget.
Show me, I’ll remember.
Involve me, I’ll understand."

(Lao Tsu (chin.老子), ca. 604 - 531 B.C.)