ISAP Buddy Programme for Incoming International Students

The International Student Ambassador Programme (ISAP) is available for new international students at Maastricht University.

What is ISAP?

ISAP, also known as the UM Buddy Programme, attempts to help new students adapt to life in Maastricht by pairing you and a group of other new students, with an ambassador/buddy (a current student at UM) during your first weeks in the city.

Your ambassador/buddy will be there to guide you through the process, help you settle in and make the switch to university in the Netherlands easier for you. In addition, the ISAP team organises various social activities for you and your ambassador/buddy to take part in, giving you the opportunity to meet other new international students and get to discover Maastricht in a fun way.

What do previous participants think about ISAP?
Here are some testimonials from participants from last year:

“Joining ISAP was one of the best decisions I made when coming to Maastricht. ISAP allowed me to meet people that I will certainly consider friends moving forward. It also taught me about Maastricht in general and how the city (and the country) works. 

Coming from a place outside the EU could become a challenge. Thankfully, ISAP (and the lovely people that are part of it) were willing to help and explain what are the priorities here and how we should go about it.”
Jorge (Data Science master student at UM)

“Being a part of ISAP has really enabled me to settle easily into the Maastricht community. While the activities they organised were extremely fun and some enabled me to gain significant information on Maastricht and Dutch culture in general, I also was able to make friends with a lot of like-minded people in different faculties who I never would have met without ISAP.”
Leyla (Exchange student at UM)

"I’m so glad I joined ISAP! I got to meet people from all faculties and cultures, make lasting friendships, and discover more of what this city has to offer. Maastricht feels more like home to me now!"
Maïlys (Medical student at UM)


For further insight into the ISAP programme, watch the video below: 

Questions about the ambassador/buddy programme?
Contact ISAP via email or on social media:

Questions regarding your data and privacy, and ISAP?
Read the ISAP privacy statement

New international students: how to apply as participant

Registrations for our third block are now closed. Our new ISAP blocks for next Academic Year will start again in September. 

Keep an eye out on our social media to see what we will be doing. Hope to see you there!

The ISAP Buddy Programme is part of the Welcome package for international students.

ISAP consists of three blocks - each lasting five weeks - where we will organise five different social events. The first block takes place from the end of August until the end of September. The second block takes place from November until December, and the third block runs from February until March. Each block costs €30 to join, there will be no extra costs to any activities organised by ISAP.

Some of the activities organised by ISAP in the last blocks were: informative sessions with MyMaastricht, visiting some of the best highlights this city has to offer such as a cave tour through the undergrounds of the city and a visit to the well-known Bonnefanten Museum. Besides getting to know their new city, the participants also had some fun at the mini glow golf in the dark and a Dutch Pub Quiz night. They were introduced to certain Dutch traditions such as 'borrelen and game night' and a Sinterklaas gift exchange afternoon. If you want to have a better idea of how these events look like, please follow ISAP on Instagram and join these fun ISAP events with your ambassador/buddy.

Current students: how to become a UM ambassador/buddy

You were also once new and having to leave home and everything you know is for sure nerve racking. If you want to give back and have a positive impact for the new batch of international students joining UM, ISAP is the best way to do so.

Would you like to be an ambassador/buddy for incoming international students?
International Student Ambassadors, or buddies, will have the opportunity to be in contact with students from many different cultures: buddies function as an initial contact person for any questions that incoming students may have prior to arriving and when being completely new in the city. This carries a certain level of responsibility, but will also add tremendously to your own personal development. In preparation for your job as a buddy, you will receive professional coaching in different areas such as communication, intercultural awareness and student psychology. At the end of the programme, all buddies will be awarded an official certificate signed by the Executive Board of Maastricht University during an evening where we celebrate you for the hard work. 

The whole ISAP programme starts at the end of August and goes on until the end of March. In this period, you will have subsequently three groups of newbies divided in three blocks. The first group will start at the end of August and will be in the programme until the end of September. This is the biggest group of max 10 newbies, the last two blocks are smaller. The second group will start in November and ends in December, and the third group will start in February, until the end of March. 

What do International Student Ambassadors (buddies) do?

  • Communicate with international students before arrival in the Netherlands
  • Help international students settle in Maastricht
  • Help them find their way in and around the university
  • Introduce international students to the Dutch culture and traditions
  • Organise at least social gathering/cultural activities for your newbies each block
  • Answer any questions they may have about studying and living in Maastricht

What do we expect of you?

  • To know the city and the university well enough to give necessary information  and share your experiences with your students
  • To keep in touch with your groups of students (end of August – half March) and initiate meeting moments with them separate from ISAP events whenever possible.
  • To be present at the ISAP Welcome Event, as well as a minimum extra event after that each block. Goal is  for you to try to attend 3 events (from the 5), 2 events per block is the minimum.
  • To join both the programme intercultural awareness and student psychology training as these are two obligatory trainings which you will need to successfully be an ISAP buddy.

Why join ISAP?
As an International Student Ambassador (buddy), you will:

  • spend time and exchange experiences with people from different cultures and backgrounds;  
  • develop cross-cultural skills which will add to your personal development;
  • receive professional coaching in different areas such as communication, inter-cultural awareness and student psychology; and
  • have the opportunity to attended fun and exciting events for free.

How to apply

Registrations for Academic Year 24-25 are now open! Apply here.

Deadline to apply is May 26th  

Interested in reading testimonials? Head to our Instagram page and have a look at past ambassador’s experiences and all the fun we’ve had in past ISAP events.