What is uOConnexion?
uOConnexion pairs upper-year students with newly-admitted students (including exchange students) build friendships, share resources, and feel connected to the uOttawa community across faculties and programs. It also aims to help new students transition to a new environment during their first months at uOttawa.
Upper-year students, this is your chance to gain volunteering hours! The program provides an excellent opportunity to meet students from other cultures and to improve language and inclusion skills.
Registration for the Winter semester is open!
The program is not intended to help you with the admissions process, financial support or find you a place to live. We invite you to learn more about Undergraduate admissions or Graduate and postdoctoral studies. For information regarding financial support, contact Financial aid and awards . For information about the residences on campus, contact Housing Service.
Who is Eligible to Participate?
Current uOttawa students who enrol as volunteers in this program must commit to being fully available to participate and maintain contact with their buddy for a full term. If they foresee they are unable to participate, they must inform the coordinator before the matching deadline by sending an email to uoconnexion@uOttawa.ca.
Upper-year students include:
- All students who have been studying at uOttawa for more than one term, feeling confident to help newly-admitted students.
Newly-admitted students include:
- Newly-admitted undergraduate, Master’s or PhD students
- Exchange students
*Special students and research fellows are not eligible for uOConnexion
Upper-Year students :
- Complete the mandatory training before the beginning of the term.
- Contact and interact with your assigned buddy through the contact information they provide, both before they arrive to campus and in person once they are here.
- Meet with your buddy at least three times (in person or virtually) in the first two weeks of the term to ensure they settle in.
- Contact your buddy at least once every two weeks for the entire term.
- It is up to you to decide the extent of your involvement with your buddy. You are encouraged to help show them around the city, but meeting with them over a cup of coffee to answer their questions or give them advice is also helpful.
- Contact and interact with your assigned buddy: if you do not receive an email with contact information for your assigned buddy by the date indicated on the application form, send an email to uoconnexion@uOttawa.ca before the beginning of the term.
- Maintain realistic expectations of support from your buddy: remember, your buddy is a student too and may not have time to communicate with you or help you every day. Therefore, remember to be patient and understanding when coordinating plans or communicating with them.
We do not expect you to answer every question your buddy could ask: that is why we set up mandatory training with key information. Our office is also a first point of contact if you are unsure how to help your buddy. If you are paired with an international or exchange student, your assistance will help them adapt to their new surroundings. If you would like, you can volunteer to meet your buddy when they arrive at the Ottawa airport, train, or bus station, and accompany them to their residence. You could also help the student with administrative steps and introduce them to other students.
Here are some of the types of problems you may be able to help your buddy with during their first few weeks on campus:
- Difficulty finding housing
- Course-related difficulties
- IT-related issues, such as trouble using Brightspace
- Problems with administrative procedures, such as printing a UHIP card, getting a student card, obtaining a UPass, enrolling in or dropping courses.
- For international students they may run into immigration issues, such as problems with a study permit, visa, passport. (Keep in mind that as a buddy, you are not allowed to provide immigration advice to students. If your buddy has issues with any immigration documents, refer them to the International Office, who will set up a meeting with an accredited immigration consultant).
- Uncertainty about where to get clothing, furniture, school supplies, household items (suggest the Free Store!), food, phone plan, banking, travel
What to do with your Buddy
In addition to helping them with their challenges
- Attend sociocultural events, most of which are free
- Run errands together, like buying groceries or going to the walk-in clinic
- Tour the Ottawa-Gatineau area
- Complete volunteer placements together
- Attend campus events
- Learn about their culture/background
Students who enrol in uOGlobal Recognition are required to participate in a pairing activity, for which this Buddy Program qualifies. The goal of uOGlobal Recognition is to build intercultural communication skills. Visit the uOGlobal website for more information.