Buddy Abroad

Students enjoy pizza at a Buddy Abroad welcome lunch hosted by WMU Study Abroad.

Western Michigan University welcomes exchange and American University Experience (formerly known as "Study Abroad @WMU") students from around the world each year. The Buddy Abroad program seeks to provide support and intercultural learning opportunities for Visiting International Peers (VIPs) (exchange or American University Experience students) by pairing them with a WMU Buddy (current WMU student) who is interested in international cultures and affairs and making friends from around the globe.

Who can apply for Buddy Abroad?

  • Exchange or American University Experience international students
  • Degree-seeking domestic and international students at WMU
The pairing serves as a mutually educational experience in which our WMU Buddies learn about the culture and heritage of our VIPs, while also serving as cultural ambassadors to help VIPs learn about campus, the local community, and United States culture.

VIPs and WMU Buddies make a (minimum) one-semester commitment to each other. Pairs will meet twice a month during the semester and will also attend 4 large-group events hosted by WMU Study Abroad.  VIPs and WMU Buddies will meet for the first time during the first few weeks of the semester and collaboratively decide dates and times for future meetings.

What are examples of activities that Buddies do together?

  • Going to a local WMU or Kalamazoo sporting event.
  • Watching international movies around town.
  • Listening to local live music.
  • Visiting a local, county, or state park.
  • Sharing popular culture videos through YouTube.
  • Attending events held on campus.
  • Meeting in campus cafes for conversations.

    Visiting International Peers (VIP's) spend time with their WMU buddies abroad.

How can I become a VIP or WMU Buddy

  1. For VIPs: Be accepted as an incoming exchange student or an American University Experience student.
  2. For WMU Buddies:  Be a degree-seeking domestic student or a continuing (have completed at least 1 semester at WMU) degree-seeking international undergraduate or graduate student at WMU.
  3. Be a student in good academic and conduct standing.
  4. Complete and submit a Buddy Abroad application:

    Deadlines to apply:

    For fall semester: August 18*

    *Late applications will be considered if there are available spaces.

    For spring semester: Late November

    Successful applicants will receive information about getting started before the beginning of the semester.

    Questions or comments may be directed to study-abroad@wmich.edu or call +1 (269) 387-5890.