Frequently Asked Questions
Why do Students Want a Mentor?
When many international students arrive at Washington College it is the first time that they have been in the United States and for some, it is their first experience far away from home. Although they are very likely to be more aware of the world than earlier generations, their images and perceptions of American life have been formed by television, movies and the internet. The reality, especially in a small town in a rural county, may not be what they expected.
There are many reasons why international students might want to participate in the program, but many say that they would like to have an adult Mentor from the Kent County community to:
- experience “real life” in the United States
- meet Americans in the community
- learn about career experiences and opportunities
- improve their spoken English
- travel and visit nearby cities
- experience life outside of the college campus
Why do Community Members Volunteer to Serve as Mentors?
The people who volunteer to serve as Mentors are generous and outgoing adults who like young people and who are willing to help international students who are far from home. Many of the Mentors have lived and traveled overseas and are interested in the global community.
Their reasons for volunteering to serve as Mentors are varied and may include:
- Learn more about the Students’ country or region
- Practice their language skills
- Enrich their own lives by giving to others
- Expand their appreciation of other cultures
- Introduce their children to international students so they can become more open to other people and ideas
Are there Any Options if a Mentor and Student “Mentee” do not “Hit It Off?”
If the Mentor and/or the Student do not “hit it off” neither the Mentor nor the Student is obligated to stay in the relationship, and either may withdraw without prejudice by informing the Mentor Coordinator or the Mentee Coordinator in the WC-ALL International Student Mentoring Program. If you should like to continue in the Program the WC-ALL Coordinator will you to find a compatible Mentor or Mentee.
How Often Should the Student and the Mentor Meet?
There are no set guidelines on how often the student and Mentor should meet, or the activities that are expected. The Mentor and the Student should work this out together. But regular contact is important for both the Student and the Mentor and they should typically communicate once a week. These connections don’t need to be lengthy and can sometimes be done by telephone. However, real conversation is important to develop and maintain the Student/Mentor relationship so emails and text messages should be reserved for quick contacts, for example, to schedule and confirm calls and meetings and other appointments.
Mentors are all volunteers and the best occasions are usually free – for example, a visit to the Mentor’s home to share a dinner with the family, or to join in a family celebration or to participate in a holiday tradition. If the Student and the Mentor do go out to dinner or visit a local attraction with an entrance fee, it is best for each person to pay their own way. The important point is to discuss this question and not to assume or to expect that either the Mentor or the Student will pay the bill.
How Can Students and Mentors Share their Experiences?
- Events The WC-ALL sponsors gatherings of Mentors and Students in the Fall and Spring – usually on campus. And the Chair of the WC-ALL International Student Mentoring Program usually hosts a party in the Fall.
- Facebook Page Mentors, current and former International Students in the Mentoring Program can also share their experiences by posting notes and photos on the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning Mentoring Program Facebook page ( ‘ list the Facebook page URL here ‘ )