Tech students buddy up to bridge cultural differences

The Tech Buddies program has nearly tripled in size since the program’s establishment during the Fall 2011 semester.

The Tech Buddies program eases what could be a challenge for many international students arriving at Tech with questions and concerns during their first few weeks on campus.

“The program is an attempt to bridge the cultural gap that frequently exists on TTU’s campus,” said Jacob Kelley, student coordinator of the program. “This is accomplished by matching either an American student or a returning international student with a new international student.”

Emphasizing that the matches are not random, Kelley said that many factors are considered, such as personal interests and cultural considerations, before the students are paired up.

“Some cultures have to be matched with a girl,” junior Tech buddy Eric Xiao said. “With cultures like those of Saudi Arabia, the girls can’t be matched with a guy. So we have to meet their requirements.”

While the program strongly emphasizes that it is not a dating service, some students continue to utilize it in that manner. Same-gender matches are typically created where available to help alleviate this.