Odyssey of the Mind offers World Finals teams from the United States and Canada the opportunity to serve as “Buddy Teams” to International teams participating at World Finals. It is our wish to provide each International Team a warm welcome and support as they travel to the U.S. to participate in World Finals, many for the first time.
We would like the Buddy Team to welcome its International Team upon arrival at the University, escort them around campus, to meals, special events, and perhaps even schedule some group activities for them. Though the degree of interaction varies from team to team, the international students will be most interested in learning about where you live, what your school is like, and the differences between cultures. You may eat some meals together, plan an excursion off campus, go swimming, play soccer, or just hang out together. They may need assistance in finding the various sites on campus, or materials and tools for last minute repair of props. Most Buddy Teams and International Teams exchange small gifts with each other. We suggest these items be representative of your area of the country such as post cards, pins, or T-shirts.
Many variables are taken into consideration when matching the Buddy Team with an International Team, such as: Problem and division of both teams, and ages and gender of team members.
Buddy Teams find their experiences richly rewarding. Here are some comments from coaches and team members after previous World Finals experiences:
Mike, a coach, wrote, “It was an amazing experience. While the team was from half way around the world and a culture that might be considered very different, we could not have been drawn closer thanks to Odyssey. I asked my kids what they enjoyed most about their trip to World Finals and every single one of them said “Buddy Team”. Not one said pin trading or finishing in fourth place. I know as a parent and coach that this provides an experience for my child and our team that will forever change their lives and perceptions of people and cultures.”
Marci, also a coach, wrote, “Having a Buddy Team was one of the highlights of our World Finals experience. What we enjoyed the most was that it gave us the opportunity to meet kids from a totally different background with whom we share this common interest. I don't know that my kids would have gone outside their “comfort zone” otherwise, to meet another team, if it hadn't been assigned to us.”
When asked if he would recommend the buddy program, Trey, a team member, responded “We had an absolute blast with our Buddy Team from Berlin. Would I recommend this program to other teams attending World Finals in the future? With 100% of my being! It just made the whole trip even BETTER! Thank you so much for the opportunity to meet such an awesome group and share something so wonderful like Odyssey with a team from another country…all I can say is WOW!”
Most buddy team applicants will be notified two weeks before World Finals if they have been assigned a Buddy Team.