International House Leuven is pleased to launch the “Welcome Ambassador Program”, teaming up Leuven residents (international or not) with new international individuals.
About the Program
While a lot of science is being done in Leuven, this program really isn’t rocket science. It is all about the human factor. This program simply provides a connection between two people, with one person being more experienced in ‘being from Leuven’ than the other. A friendly face providing guidance and support, and helping a newcomer thrive in a new environment.
The goal is to provide an individual contact point to newly arrived international working professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs as well as accompanying family members and in the process personalize the experience of arrival, settling in and living in the greater Leuven area.
The programme is an integral part of how we want to go above and beyond in welcoming internationals to our region and create a dynamic community mixing both professional and social activities in a fun environment.
What to expect
Is this the same as a company mentor program?
There's bound to be some overlap but not necessarily, so getting involved in both (if provided by an employer) does make sense. The focus in the Welcome Ambassador Program is on guidance, adjustment to new surroundings, getting comfortable and connected and not on the transfer of deep topical knowledge (especially where administration is concerned) or skills. To state it in a very straightforward manner: a Welcome Host isn't responsible for company onboarding and is certainly not a personal assistant. However if you're looking for a great place to picnic, talk to your Welcome Host.
Keep reading below or take a look at the Ambassador Program Handbook to find out more about the details!
Have we convinced you yet? If so, then you can head straight to the newcomer and host applications (see below). Or you can keep reading for further information.
What's in it for Welcome Hosts
Fun of course! Also, as a Welcome Host in Leuven, you will have the opportunity to meet other internationals (both hosts and newcomers) living in the region and local based individuals keen to develop international relations and cross-cultural interactions. You enhance your experience among the main actors in the regional ecosystem and can, if you want, contribute to the development of activities for the international community in the Leuven region.
Moreover, you will:
- Be recognized for your achievements as part of the Welcome Ambassador Program
- Be part of an interesting peer to peer storytelling platform, where the story is you
- Join our community of regional thought leaders and shape the talent attraction and retention in our region
- Meet people from all over the world, who are also currently working and/or living here in Leuven
- Have some fun in the Leuven way, mixing professional and social life
Interested in becoming a Welcome Host?
In order to apply to become a Welcome Host, you must be a resident of the greater Leuven area and be willing to commit time and energy in supporting an international working professional, researcher, entrepreneur or a family member for an initial 6 months period to help them ease into life in Leuven. You can be from Leuven, other parts of Belgium or an international living in Leuven as long as you have a soft spot for and some knowledge about Leuven.
Is this you? We define a Welcome Host as a person, who on one hand is committed to go above and beyond in sharing his or her own experience in the region in a “pay it forward” manner to a newcomer and engage in social, cultural and professional integration dialogue and activities provided by the programme.
You can now fill out the Welcome Host form here. After submitting the form we will soon be in contact for next steps.
Are you a newcomer interested in being paired with a Welcome host?
If you have lived in the Leuven area for less than 6 months and have the intention of staying for at least 1 year, then you can fill out the newcomer form, here. After submitting the form we will soon be in contact for next steps.
P.S. If you aren't sure whether you fit into the newcomer or welcomer role, feel free to send us an email with a little background on yourself and we can decide together where you will be most comfortable.