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Global Challenges Doctoral Centre

Become a GCDC Buddy (continuing students)

Second and third-year GCDC PhDs are invited to sign up to be a GCDC Buddy to share their hints and tips for settling into PhD life with an incoming GCDC PhD student.

The GCDC Buddy scheme is a simple mechanism for encouraging informal peer-to-peer support amongst our global challenges cohorts. Second and third-year GCDC students have the opportunity to sign up as a GCDC Buddy and be matched with a first-year GCDC PhD student in their discipline (where possible). Once matched, Buddies will serve as an informal point of contact for the new student throughout the first year of their PhD.

Participating in the GCDC Buddy Scheme

What is a GCDC Buddy?

A second or third-year GCDC PhD student who has signed up to be an informal contact/mentor for an incoming GCDC PhD student.

What is expected of a GCDC Buddy?

It is our expectation that GCDC Buddies initiate contact with their match before the start of the 2020 autumn term. After that point, it will be up to the new student(s) to initiate contact with their GCDC Buddy throughout their first year as needed. You may want to connect via video chat or simply exchange emails initially – it will be up to you to set expectations from the first meeting. Be clear with the new student about how much time you can reasonably commit and how you would like to be contacted (i.e. WhatsApp, email, etc.). How often Buddies speak with their match will differ across the scheme depending on the needs and the capacity of each new student and their Buddy.

  • Initiate contact with your match before the start of term (by the end of August 2020 at the latest).
  • Try your best to relate to the new student and be willing to share from your experiences.
  • Signpost any services that the new student may require, and ask the GCDC team if you’re unsure.
  • Stay in contact with the new student until the end of their first academic year, unless it’s clear that they no longer require your input. The ‘formal’ buddy arrangement will officially end after the new student’s first year (i.e. summer 2021).
  • Respect confidentiality, unless you feel that the new student is at risk. If you feel that your match is at risk to themselves or others, please notify the GCDC team immediately: kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk.

What is NOT expected of a GCDC Buddy?

  • To proof-read the new student’s work or offer academic support (there are University departments who offer this).
  • To commit an uncomfortable amount of time.
  • To be ‘on call’.
  • To become best friends.
  • To solve the new student’s personal problems.

What are the benefits of being a Buddy?

  • Network and connect with incoming scholars working on global challenges areas.
  • Get experience in informal mentoring – great for the CV!
  • Improve your interpersonal skills.
  • Share your knowledge and experience with a new student and have a positive impact on their PhD experience.

What if I sign up but then no longer want to be part of the GCDC Buddy Scheme?

It is fine if you decide that you no longer want to continue as a GCDC Buddy. Simply email Grace at kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk and let her know that you want to be removed from the scheme. We will then ask you for feedback and match the student with a new Buddy.

What if the student isn’t replying to me?

If you have contacted your match and haven’t heard anything back, then please let the GCDC know as soon as possible (kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk) and we will try and rectify the situation.

How do I become a GCDC Buddy?

Email Grace (kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk) to express your interest, indicating how many students you are willing to ‘buddy’. The GCDC team will attempt to match you with a student(s) in your discipline where possible.

Once you are matched, keep in contact with the Centre and let us know how things are going. If things aren’t working out with your match, simply email us at kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk. We understand that things don’t always work out, so just let us know!

By signing up to the GCDC Buddy Scheme, you agree to allow the GCDC to share your name, discipline and email address with your match.