Image of Preston Mercury

A reflection on Preston's participation in the Global Buddies programme 2023.

4 min read

Hello, my name is Preston, a Vincentian national hailing from the beautiful Caribbean Island and gem of the Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I am a master’s student studying Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation at the University of Portsmouth.

During my time at the University, I have been involved with a lot of societies, volunteering services, research studies and programmes including the Global Buddies programme.

In this blog I will tell you a little more about my experience of the Global Buddies Programme. 
Global Buddies is a scheme connecting you with other students from around the world. A space for you to get to know each other and collaborate, over the course of a week.

I saw it as an opportunity to develop my cross-cultural communication skills, gain unique insight from other lived experiences, and identify not only differences but where we converge – such as our mutual dreams to become global citizens in a just, fair, and prosperous world. At another level, a bonus outcome is the development of long-lasting friendships.

So, after reading the information and seeing that it aligned with my own goals, I signed up. To be honest, even after anticipating the outcome, I still didn’t know what to expect.

We were assigned a group the day before the programme started and had pre-set questions and tasks to help guide us over the week.

I was in a group with four incredibly bright and passionate French students, one of which was studying in Ireland. We introduced ourselves and found out a bit more about each other as part of the icebreaker. It was quite nice because everyone appeared comfortable even though we were essentially strangers. From the very start, we respected each other by actively engaging with what each other said. And what I found interesting is that even though they were all French, no one person was alike.

The pre-set tasks were helpful in terms of guiding the conversations and allowing us to naturally fall into more authentic chats although they sometimes felt a bit ‘flat’, so I took the initiative and changed them which worked better for our group. I would say that we all enjoyed each other’s company as we shared our cultural background, the music, the food, and the life in our respective countries.

I must say the buddy system was well organised. I can’t remember encountering any problems. The tasks were given each day until the final day of the programme. I would not change anything. For me, it was fun, and I plan to keep in touch with my buddies, or should I say, my newfound friends.