Samantha Jane Logan & Krassimira Teneva
@SheffHallamINT / @SammyJaneLogan
Parallel session 1, Thunderstorm 1.1
Culture Connect cross-cultural peer mentoring scheme helps new students settle in and encourages social integration between home/international students. Volunteers develop their multi-cultural awareness, preparing them to work in diverse organisations. The session will share best practice. How can we make cross-cultural mentoring an integral part of the student experience?
Culture Connect is a cross-cultural peer mentoring scheme, which supports new students through transitions and encourages social integration between home/international students. The scheme includes 146 students from 33 countries. Culture Connect is part of the SHU GoGlobal campaign organised by International Student Support, which aims to inspire students to participate in projects that will foster their global outlook and expand their horizons.
Students get to know someone from a different country, through a one-to-one supportive mentoring relationship. They are also allocated to a learning set – a small, intimate group of mentees or mentors of different nationalities which enables them to gain a wide range of perspectives and develop their multi-cultural awareness. These activities give students the chance to reflect, discuss challenges and share helpful advice and resources to support each other on their student journey. Thus fostering shared learning and improving their student experience.
‘You get a friend who walks along with you as you get to know about life at university. I now have many friends and I feel fully integrated in the university.’
Judith Khamoni mentee from Kenya
Monthly soft skills training with other members, challenges their stereotypes in a safe environment and prepares them to work in diverse organisations. Regular social activities contribute to their sense of belonging to a wide support network, which celebrates cultural diversity.
‘It brings together the university community because it gives British students first-hand experience of engaging with international students. The media constantly portrays international students in a negative light and Culture Connect dispels media falsehoods.’ Sami Riaz mentor from Britain
This session will discuss the importance of supporting transitions in order to enhance student engagement, sharing best practice and student feedback of how the programme can assist. The scheme designer/coordinator Samantha Jane Logan will indicate some of her initial dissertation findings.