ISS is available virtually and in-person Mondays-Fridays during business hours.

International Student Buddy Program FAQs

Volunteer FAQs

PLEASE NOTE: If your questions are not answered by this FAQ, send your query to international.buddy [at]

1. Am I eligible to be a buddy volunteer?

The only eligibility requirement to become a buddy volunteer is having been a McGill student for at least 1 (full) academic year. Our buddy volunteer training webinar will equip you with all the skills and information you need to know to be a good buddy. Once you complete this training, we will add you to our database of matchable volunteers.

2. How do I become a buddy volunteer?

Sign up to volunteer as a buddy. Then, register for the mandatory buddy volunteer training webinar. This online training webinar is designed to help you:

  • Understand your role and responsibilities
  • Understand culturally influenced communication styles
  • Engage in culturally sensitive and respectful dialogue
  • Facilitate the new student's transition to McGill and Montreal
  • Refer students to helpful resources
  • Understand and respect student privacy and confidentiality

3. How many students can I be paired with?

You can receive a match with 1-5 new international students, depending on your preference and availability.

4. How long does it take to receive a buddy match?

We match on a rolling basis. The matching process depends on the suitability of your profile with the new students that sign up for the program.

Once we make a match, you and your buddy receive a joint introductory email containing all the necessary information to make the initial contact with each other.

5. What is expected of me as a buddy volunteer?

This is a low-commitment volunteer opportunity. As a Buddy Volunteer, you may be the very first friend for a new international student at McGill! You serve an important role in easing a new student's transition to McGill and to Montreal, and in helping them feel a little less overwhelmed by their new environment.

You are required to attend the online training webinar. If you can’t attend this webinar, please watch the recording and fill out a short quiz to become matchable.

After being matched with your buddy, you are expected to fulfill the following four milestones to receive recognition in your Co-Curricular record:

  • Emailing your Buddy within 7 days of being matched
  • Meeting with your Buddy at least once in person or virtually
  • Sending a mid-semester check-in message to your Buddy
  • Completing your end-of-term report

You must report all these milestones in the buddy portal to earn CCR recognition. We will talk more about this in the buddy volunteer training webinar.

6. What should I do if my buddy is not responding, or if I want to change my buddy?

If you want to change your buddy, for any reason, please log in to the buddy portal, select the box which says, “There is a problem with my match” and provide the reason for requesting a new buddy. Afterward, we will receive a notification.

Once we receive this notification to change your buddy, we will look into the match and potentially revoke it. Next, you and the buddy you were matched with, will receive an email from us revoking your match due to confidential reasons. Finally, we will enable your eligibility for another match in our system.

7. How can I make sure that my volunteer work is recorded in the buddy system?

In the Buddy Program, the volunteers have to complete four milestones. Each of these have to be self-reported on the buddy portal. You can do so by logging in to the buddy portal, clicking on "Your Matches" and selecting the concerned match by clicking on "Edit milestones". Finally, select the milestone you want to self-report as completed by clicking on the checkbox next to it. Click "Save" and then close the window.

A screenshot of the buddy portal
A screenshot of the buddy portal

Please note that you don't have to include us in your correspondences with your buddy. After your initial communication over McGill email, feel free to switch to any mutually preferred communication platform over the course of your buddy partnership.

8. Does Co-Curricular Record mention the number of students I mentored?

No. The Co-Curricular record simply provides a description of the Buddy program, the role of buddy volunteers as mentors for new international students and the milestones you completed. Your Co-Curricular Record reflects that you were a buddy volunteer for the given academic term/year, upon the successful completion and self-reporting of all the four milestones on the buddy portal.

9. Why should I become a buddy volunteer?

There are many benefits of being a buddy like:

  • making new social connections
  • developing intercultural communication skills
  • acquiring mentorship experience and other transferable skills
  • obtaining recognition on your official McGill Co-Curricular record

For more information on the perks of volunteering, please visit our webpage.

10. What are some wellness resources that I can recommend to my buddy?

Here is our list of the Top 10 Wellness Resources for international students at McGill. 

  1. Jos Porter (LWA- International Students) 

Local Wellness Advisors help in connecting students to appropriate resources on-and-off campus, providing psychoeducational and skills-based workshops, outreach and wellness promotion, as well as individual one-on-one appointments.

  1. Student Wellness Hub

The Student Wellness Hub provides a range of health services to support students' physical and mental health with a focus on awareness, prevention, and early intervention. It has a variety of clinicians that provide one-on-one appointments and therapy groups and operates on the Collaborative Care Approach.

  1. IHI Medavie Blue Cross Handbook

Review/Bookmark this handbook to find specific details about the International Health Insurance (IHI) plan like the health-related expenses eligible for reimbursement, conditions for coverage, and so on. 

  1. Studentcare

All international students have their non-accidental dental coverage with their respective student society's studentcare plans (SSMU, PGSS, MCSS). Review the studentcare website to find more coverage details and to file your claims easily. 

  1. Maple Virtual Care

IHI members will receive 24/7 on-demand access to doctors by secure text or video for advice, diagnosis, and prescriptions, at a preferred price. Members can skip the waiting room and talk with a physician within minutes, anytime, anywhere.

  1. Keep.meSAFE

Keep.meSAFE can connect you with licensed counselors for in-person, phone, chat, or video counseling, according to your local guidelines. They have a large, diverse pool of counselors with services available in more than 60 languages.

  1. Dialogue

Dialogue is an online platform that allows you to virtually connect with nurses and physicians via a mobile or web app from anywhere in Canada, free of charge.  
Students covered by all student unions (PGSS, SSMU, MCSS, MACES), along with their eligible spouses and/or dependent children, have access to virtual health care through the Dialogue Health mobile app.

  1. Biron Diagnostic

IHI members are eligible to benefit from direct billing for laboratory services at Biron. To use this service, you will first need to see a licensed doctor to obtain a blood test requisition. Once you have a valid blood test requisition, you may book an appointment at the closest Biron location to you.

  1. Art Hive

The McGill Art Hive is a space located within the HLA at the Student Wellness Hub devoted to making art and community. They offer creative experiences to foster a sense of togetherness along with individual well-being. Participation requires no art background or experience.

New Student FAQs

PLEASE NOTE: If your questions are not answered by this FAQ, send your query to international.buddy [at]

1. How will my buddy help me?

To help you transition to life in Montreal and at McGill, the Buddy Program connects new international students with returning students. Returning McGill students provide a friendly face, a helping hand, and the first Montreal friendship that can make a world of difference for newly arriving international students like yourself. Buddies can also offer linguistic support, cultural guidance and information about life at McGill, Montreal and Canada.

2. What help can I NOT expect from my buddy?

Your buddy can help you with general things from their own experiences like being an international student at McGill or a foreign resident in Quebec/Canada.

However, your buddy cannot provide you with specialized guidance about matters like immigration, health insurance, doctor's appointments, and scholarships/bursaries. For these purposes, it is recommended that you contact the International Student Services, the Student Wellness Hub, or the Scholarships and Student Aid departments directly.  

3. What can I do if I’m not satisfied with my buddy? OR If my buddy is not responding?

If there are any problems with your buddy match, please send us an email at international.buddy [at] Next, we look into the match and may revoke it. You and your buddy will then receive an email revoking the match due to confidential reasons. Finally, we make you eligible for another match.

At the end of the semester, we send out a feedback survey where you may share with us your experience with your buddy and the program.

4. How can I update my personal information in the buddy program?

You will need to email us at international.buddy [at] to make any updates on your profile.

5. I want to be matched with another new student like me.

If you want to be matched with another new student, sign up for the First Friend Program. This program matches students in the same degree level, faculty and time zones so that you can become friends and navigate your first year at McGill together. Find out more information about the First Friend Program. You can participate in both International Student Buddy Program and First Friend Program at the same time.

Back to top