A programme that matches international students new to Otago with student mentors on-campus is proving a big success among the wider student community, for both mentors and mentees.
The International Mentor Programme, now into its eleventh year, matches undergraduate and postgraduate international students with more experienced or senior student peers. These mentors can then help answer the questions that naturally arise from having arrived at a new place to live and study, while the programme itself, with its various events, provides an introduction for all participants into a ready-made social network.
“One of the positive concepts is a sense of connectedness and improved social adjustment,” says programme coordinator Rebecca Burnip. “This is multi-directional so doesn't just result from pairing international students with domestic students, but international with other internationals and co-nationals (a senior student from the same country), and also with a wider multi-national network of those in the programme.”
The International Mentor Programme provides a strong avenue of support for international postgraduate students, who often bring a wider set of needs with them than their undergraduate colleagues.
“More and more postgraduate international students are arriving with families for example,” says Rebecca. “Therefore their range of questions may be different and as wide ranging as childcare, schooling and how to get their partner interacting with the community. Linking such people with students who have been through similar experiences can be invaluable.”
“PhD students without families also have different questions to undergraduate students that relate to PhD processes and study. A peer who can tell someone where to go to get help, who to ask, and can understand some of the academic pressures can really help ease the transition.”
For more information about the IMP or to download an application form, please go to: