The vision to start something new
Former International Study Centre student, Tania, looks back on her first year studying in the UK with fond memories. Now studying at the University of Huddersfield, she thinks back to her own student experience, and wonders what could have made it even easier.
The answer was someone to talk to: someone her own age, who understands what it is like to live and study in another country. And so she created the International Study Centre Mentorship Programme, providing former International Study Centre students the opportunity to support new students. Starting with just four mentors, the project soon grew to involve a team of ten.
International Study Centre Student Mentorship Programme
How does it work?
The programme is simple but very effective. Mentors make themselves available to students with regular sessions in accommodation common rooms, or meet with students around campus. New students who want to ask a question can go along to get some advice about almost anything from their classes to life in Huddersfield.
What do new students ask?
Most of the questions new students ask include:
- tips for living in Huddersfield
- how to adjust to living abroad in the UK
- academic questions
- personal questions like the best restaurants or where to buy the right products.
In return, new students get first-hand insight to help them adjust to living abroad, feel at home and be part of an excellent student experience. Tania explains that at its core, the programme is about building relationships. These volunteer mentors continue to be available as International Study Centre students transition to the University, so they always feel fully supported.
What do students think?
Feedback from students using the services of the Mentorship Programme has been very positive. They have said they feel more at ease because they know they are not alone and they can talk to people their own age.
Support for student initiatives
The International Study Centre shared a supportive attitude towards Tania's initiative, and all students with ideas. She highlights the openness of teachers to discuss ideas with students. At Huddersfield you are given the opportunity to grow and the confidence to put your ideas forward. Tania says, "I am very glad I came to Huddersfield. I believe I’ve grown so much as a person and it gave me confidence in myself."
When asked about how she feels about the project, Tania said, "It makes you feel useful." She explained that she gets pleasure from doing something to help other students.
Preparation for the future
Tania studied the International Foundation Year in Business and Law, Hospitality and Tourism, Management, Marketing, Transport and Logistics at the International Study Centre, and is currently studying International Business BA(Hons) at the University of Huddersfield. She chose her degree because it opens doors to careers in marketing, finance, teaching, travel and hospitality.
Speaking about the practical benefits of starting this new programme, Tania said, "When I came up with the idea, it didn’t really have anything to do with my degree, but knowing how to communicate with people from other cultures will obviously help in the future. We all have opportunities every day to help people. It doesn’t matter what you study. I believe it’s a choice."