I signed up to be a domestic buddy in IBSA because I saw the applications floating around online. The group stuck out to me because the buddies were international, so not only are they unfamiliar with campus and the city, but also the culture and possibly language. I am a U of C student, but I moved from BC to Calgary for school, so I was once extremely unfamiliar with the campus and the city, as well. Seeing what IBSA did, I assumed pairing an international student with a domestic student would be beneficial for their time here in Calgary. That turned out to be true. When paired together, all the buddies became friends, including me with my buddy.
That semester of events was, by far, my favourite time-period of school-based events during my three years at U of C. All of the domestic buddies turned out to be a big friend group, so when we met our international buddies it became an even larger and closer-knit group. We carpooled to the Grassi Lakes hike, then went into Banff for lunch and hot spring soak. The whole day was like a mix of a high school field trip and a friends’ trip. A large group of very different people had an awesome time. The other event that was popular was a group section at a Calgary Hitmen game.
On the note of the events, I have to touch on how fun it is to meet international students and hear their comparisons of our school or culture to theirs. Some had never seen a hockey game, and some had never seen mountains quite like the Rockies. Additionally, there was constantly a mutual interest in business, so there were always questions and answers regarding different international business practices.
IBSA is a well-organized and well-run club. There were numerous events, so that if you couldn’t attend one, there was going to be another (even more fun) event soon after that. No one was left out and everyone had fun. For domestic buddies, it can help broaden your circle at the school, and for international buddies, it can pair you with a knowledgeable student who can be a friendly face in a new environment.