New friendships at The Polytechnical High School Kyjov, Czech Republic

The Stand By Me buddy program is celebrating its first successes in the Czech Republic. The buddy program aims to integrate young people (newcomers) between the ages of 13-24 from Ukraine and other countries into schools in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania.

An example of good practice is illustrated by Czech students from The Polytechnical High School Kyjov, Czech Republic, who have established new friendships with their new classmates from Ukraine and Moldova. These students have helped the newcomers adapt to their new school through the Voluntary Service section of their Award.

In this buddy program, a student from the host country, in this case, the Czech Republic, works together with a foreign student who speaks a different mother tongue. In the beginning, they map what they enjoy and choose a mutual topic for their mini-project, which they then work on every week for a period of three months together. The result is not only a completed project but also an improvement of the foreign student’s knowledge of the Czech language and the Czech student’s understanding of a different culture.

The mentor of Stand By Me, Martina Filipová, from The Polytechnical High School evaluates the program as a very useful tool for integrating foreign students into the school’s already well-established class teams:

After joining the buddy program, the mood in the class has changed positively. I think the students have established really strong friendships among each other, so now it’s not just about mutual respect, but real friendship. Students see each other outside of school activities, they spend free time together and attend local leisure activities and sports.

As part of their mini-projects, students created dictionaries of professional terms for compulsory school subjects. These dictionaries will help foreign students to overcome the language barrier and understand the curriculum more easily and keep up with others. They were also repairing cars together or were involved in football, boxing, and fitness activities.

15-year-old Marian from Ukraine also praises his participation in the program:

The Buddy program helped me to find new friends and also to learn a little Czech. I like the football we play with the boys and I think the buddy program is a very nice idea for us foreigners.

You can watch the video report about the buddy program within The Polytechnical High School Kyjov below:

The methodologist of the program Tereza Vlčková, adds that the main purpose of the Stand By Me Award buddy program is to create a new opportunity for children and young people to find friends of their age in established groups within schools, to discover their hobbies and to feel good and keep up in their group of peers. The buddy program does not only aim at children and youth from Ukraine, but it can also help new pupils from other countries, and students with special needs or disadvantages.


The Stand By Me / Stojím při Tobě project is supported by UNICEF, the Česká spořitelna Foundation, the BLÍŽ K SOBĚ Foundation, the Škoda Auto Foundation and CVC.

The project runs under the auspices of UNICEF, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Czech Republic.

An expert consultation was provided by Člověk v tísni, ČOSIV, Cyril Mooney Value Education, and the LOCIKA Centre.

More information here.

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