International Graduate Buddy Program


Purpose: This program is designed to pair new graduate students with current graduate students at UConn. Current graduate students offer social support by answering questions about UConn, Connecticut, U.S. cultures, or graduate student life in general. It’s a great opportunity to be part of an exciting program that offers personal enrichment while also helping to create a more dynamic and integrated campus.

Benefits for current graduate students: An opportunity to share your experiences at UConn and all the cool and/or useful stuff you’ve discovered as a graduate student so far. This is also a great chance to extend your network to graduate students you might not otherwise have a chance to interact with.

Benefits for incoming graduate students: A personal point of contact to talk to about how to start life at UConn (eg. good neighborhoods for housing, travel and arrival plans, fun social activities, etc.). Once you arrive, it may also be useful to talk to a Grad Buddy about how to handle potential cultural shock or surprises about life in Connecticut, or the U.S. in general.

Time commitment: The program is typically one semester long (a few weeks before the incoming new student arrives to UConn, and 4 months after) but the time commitment is up to you and your buddy - from a few emails to Skype/Instagram/Messenger/WhatsApp calls or meetings in person/online. Keeping this in mind, please find the recommended contact expectations below.


If you have any questions about the program or the registration process, please feel free to contact us:

Storrs Campus: Huong Pham

Hartford Campus: Neena Kapoor

Stamford Campus: Lulu Dong

What to expect from the buddy program?


Timeline Recommended communication

Current Graduate Students


New Graduate Students

Before arrival 1 - 2 emails/virtual meeting preparing your buddy for arrival to UConn Talk to your buddy and ask them about life at UConn and in Connecticut
After arrival 1 - 2 emails welcoming your buddy to UConn and potentially meeting in person Ask your buddy about how to get around campus, resources available, etc.
During the registered semesteri In-person/virtual meetings at least 3 times. Encourage to participate in ISSS events/programs together Hopefully we may welcome you as a “current graduate student” in our buddy program!


Activities: ISSS staff organize at least one International Graduate Buddy event each month. Previous activities have included the following:

  • Fall Social: S’mores and Hot Chocolate
  • Ice Skating
  • Celebration of U.S. holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day
  • Movie Night
  • Late afternoon gatherings to play board games
  • Pizza Dine Out
  • Grad Buddy Appreciation Day: Ice-cream and Kite Flying
  • Other activities suggested by students throughout the year

If you encounter any difficulties while being a part of the Buddy Program or feel uncomfortable at any time, please let the International Graduate Buddy Program Committee know - we are more than happy to assist you.


Want to be more involved in program development and leadership? Please contact Huong Pham, International Programs Assistant, by email at or phone 860-486-5190

Current Students

Application to Be an ISSS Grad Buddy

Now taking applications for Spring 2023.

New Students

Application for ISSS International Grad Buddy Program

ISSS Grad Buddies Posing with Cow at Horsebarn Hill

ISSS Grad Buddies Posing with Ice Cream

ISSS Grad Buddies Putting Together Kites


ISSS Grad Buddies Flying Kites