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Global Challenges Doctoral Centre

Request a GCDC Buddy (new students)

Sign up to the GCDC Buddy scheme to be matched with a second or third-year GCDC PhD student who can offer informal support as you settle into your PhD.

The GCDC Buddy scheme is a simple mechanism for encouraging informal peer-to-peer support amongst our global challenges cohorts. New GCDC students have the opportunity to be matched with a GCDC Buddy (a continuing GCDC student) who can offer informal advice on life as a PhD student at Kent. New students will be matched with a GCDC Buddy in their discipline where possible.

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.

How does the scheme work?

After signing up for the scheme, the GCDC will confirm who you are matched with and their email address. Your Buddy will initiate contact with you before the start of the autumn term, and it will be up to you and your Buddy to set expectations from your first meeting. For instance, you will determine together how often you will speak and how you will connect (via email, video chat, WhatsApp, etc.) and this will differ across the scheme depending on the needs and the capacity of new students and their Buddies. After your first meeting, it will be up to you to initiate contact with your Buddy throughout your first year as needed. Once you have completed your first year, the ‘formal’ buddy arrangement will come to an end, and you will have the opportunity to become a Buddy yourself.

What do I talk to my Buddy about?

  • Chat through questions you may have about PhD study and experience at Kent – ask your GCDC Buddy to share from their own experiences.
  • Ask your GCDC Buddy about University services that they have found particularly useful.
  • Ask your GCDC Buddy what they like about the local area and any recommendations they may have.

Please note that your GCDC Buddy will respect confidentiality, unless they feel that you are at risk (in which case they will notify the GCDC team immediately). If you have questions that they cannot answer, they will signpost you in the right direction or suggest that you ask the GCDC team: kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk.

What your Buddy is NOT expected to do:

  • To proofread your work or offer academic support. There are University departments who offer this, and you can contact the GCDC if you are unsure who to contact: kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk.
  • Commit an uncomfortable amount of time to chat.
  • To be ‘on call’ for you.
  • Become your best friend.
  • Solve any personal problems.

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 participate in the scheme. Simply email Grace at kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk to let her know. We will then ask you for feedback and remove you from the scheme.

What if my Buddy isn’t replying to me?

If you have contacted your Buddy 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 sign up?

Email Grace (kentgcdc@kent.ac.uk) by 9am on Thursday, 27 August to express your interest, and include a few sentences outlining why you want to participate in the scheme. The GCDC team will review your request and match you with a Buddy (in your discipline if possible), notifying you within two weeks.

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, email address and your reasons for signing up to the scheme with your GCDC Buddy.