Blog post

My Unibuddy experience brought me to the UK

Jorge explains how Unibuddy provided the support he needed to move from Portugal to Derby. Now he's a Unibuddy himself and hoping to support other students on their university journey.

By Jorge Estevão - 18 December 2020

My name is Jorge Rodrigues Estevão and I am studying a BA Hons in Illustration. I'm really enjoying Derby so far; my hometown is Vila Real de Santo António in Portugal. I thought it would be hard to adapt but I felt that I phased in perfectly and now I am slowly finding my community here at the University of Derby.

Coming from a small town I thought that none of my friends would come to the UK, or at least not close to Derby anyway, so when I found out a close friend was joining Derby, I added the uni to my options and after some research, it just made sense to apply and I'm really happy I got in.

I originally looked at studying Fine Art but felt some structure suited my character, therefore I looked at Illustration instead. Illustration fascinates me and I'm not the most creative of artists unless I have something to start me off, but I felt this course was the best option for me to develop my skills.

I wasn't able to attend a physical Open Day at Derby due to the distance, but I did find Unibuddy on the University of Derby website which was really simple and straight forward from the start.

Connecting with Unibuddies

You can chat to current Derby students who are knowledgeable on all areas of student life, things like how to apply, they can point you in the right direction, some live-in halls so you get to hear first-hand what their experience has been like.

You can view the profiles of all the Unibuddies and select who you want to speak to - which is helpful if you have specific questions, or if you are international and want to speak to someone from your home country.
When I connected with other students on Unibuddy I was already pretty sure I would be coming to Derby, but I needed some help choosing where to live and that's where I received most of the support from the students on this platform. Besides that, I also got some help with simple queries around wellbeing support along with societies and sports.

Not only did they make it easier for me to prepare for the move and choosing where to stay but the idea of having someone there to help at any time was very reassuring and I felt that I would like to do the same for other students - to support them and make their university experience comfortable from the start.

Becoming a Unibuddy

So, when I was settled into University, I applied to become a Unibuddy myself. The process was simple, I talked to my Unibuddy who I was still in contact with about how to apply and they directed me to the team who support the buddies and the site, from then I had to create a profile and watch some videos and read some documents to learn about the role - it was very informative and quick.

Lastly, we had a mock live event where we were divided into groups and had to reply to possible questions we will get when doing the job which was fun.

Now I am a Unibuddy I am really looking forward to helping guide other students throughout their journey to the University of Derby. From a personal perspective, I am excited to use the opportunity to acquire work experience and build on my CV and personal portfolio. Being a Unibuddy has helped me build my communication and research skills when I look for answers to support prospective students.

You can chat with a Unibuddy like me or sign up to be a Unibuddy easily online.

About the author

Jorge Estevão
Illustration student

Jorge is an illustration student from Portugal who enjoys learning new languages and skills, from music to art, to dance and volleyball and sewing. He enjoys travelling and has been able to so through Erasmus and his dance school back home.