Join the Global Pen Friends - apply here

What is Global Pen Friends?

Global Pen Friends is an exchange project between nine universities located in India, Suriname, Nicaragua, Brazil, DR Congo, Morocco and Belgium where students are matched with a Pen Friend to write each other letters about topics related to one of the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

"The project gave me a renewed interest in writing and corresponding, something I had not done since high school. The project also allowed us not only to discuss important issues in society with a lot of freedom, but also to understand the way of thinking and seeing the world of our pen friends who live in other parts of the world." (anonymous participant)

What is the goal of Global Pen Friends?

The project aims to stimulate an interpersonal exchange between students that wouldn’t otherwise easily get in touch with each other, about topics that affect their environment and personal life in sometimes different and sometimes similar ways. Creating a space of expression, curiosity, mutual respect and learning. All letter exchanges are then published on the Global Pen Friends Blog for many people to read and share the articles.

Why should you join Global Pen Friends?

  • Reflect and exchange on sustainable development and become more involved with the conversations about the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Stimulate thoughtful and trough-provoking dialogue
  • Learn from different perspectives
  • Learn about a countries’ context trough someone’s personal experiences
  • Possibly exchange in a language that is different than your native tongue
  • Get to know another person from the other side of the world on a deeper level through an open dialogue
  • Practice writing skills
  • Have the opportunity to share your exchange on a University blog
  • Widen your network through a WhatsApp group with Pen Friends from all over the world

Find out more about USOS and Global Pen Friends 

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How does it work?


Interested students go through an application, selection, matching, writing and feedback phase. The deadline for the application is March 12, 2024. The project is led by USOS vzw. Regular updates and reminders will be given to the participants through a WhatsApp group.

Writing the letters

The letter exchange takes place between April and June. Students should write at least 2 letters each. For each letter a deadline will be provided. We find it very important that students commit to those deadlines, as your Pen Friend will be awaiting your response. Throughout the whole project students should write in one of the following languages (the one they master best): Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch or English. Students themselves will provide their own automated translation for their Pen Friend to read. They can use tools such as Google Docs Translate, DeepL or ChatGPT..

Global Pen Friends Blog

At the end of the letter exchange, students will review their letter as a team and send it in for publication on the blog. A team of volunteers will make final corrections to the letters if necessary. After that, the letters will be published on the Global Pen Friends Blog.

On campus meeting

Students might not have an immediate opportunity to meet their Pen Friend in real life. However, they will have two opportunities to meet like-minded students at their own University through a local meet-up that will be hosted by the Global Pen Friends Ambassadors.

Selection criteria

The selection to join Global Pen Friends is made based upon your online application. Please take your time to fill it in as we will ask you some questions and base our idea of your intentions on your replies. Reply to these question in a serious, personal and motivated way.

The criteria for selection are the following:

Basic criteria:

  • You are a student of one of the next universities: 
    • Catholic University of Bukavu (UCB) 
    • Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS) 
    • Sint. Xavier’s College (SXCRan)
    • National Law University (NLU) 
    • Mohammed Premier University (UMP) 
    • University of Antwerp (UAntwerp)
    • Anton De Kom Universiteit van Suriname (AdeKUS)
    • Universidade Catolica de Pernambuco (Unicap)
    • Former students of Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)
  • You write in French, English, Dutch, Portuguese or Spanish
  • You commit yourself for the duration of the entire project (minimum 4 letters between April and June)
  • You know the objective of the project and you have visited the Global Pen Friends blog


  • You choose one of the SDGs and motivate this choice in an inspiring way in your application. You are able to describe this choice in a brief and clear way.


  • You can explain your motivation for this project in a way that is in line with the goals of the project or with a personal objective that inspires us.


  • Your writing is personal: what you write comes from your ideas without over-referring to other authors, sources or AI-generated text..

  • Your writing shows an effort of good spelling and grammar.

Watch our announcement video