The goals of the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning’s (WC-ALL) International Student Mentoring Program are twofold. It provides international students at the college with the opportunity to experience “real” life in Kent County and on the historic Eastern Shore of Maryland through regular meetings with their Mentor over coffee, dinner, or on a local excursion. The Mentor, in turn, has the opportunity to learn about another part of the world; to meet interesting students; to be an “Ambassador” for the United States; and to support the relationship between the College and the local community.
Each Mentor and Student partnership will develop over time and will ideally become a long-term relationship. Success depends on the development of a personal relationship that needs the attention and participation of both the Student and the Mentor. And each experience will develop its unique flavor, activities and rhythms based on the types of activities that the Student and Mentor share.
The number of participants varies from year-to-year depending on the numbers of international students on campus and the proportion who would like to have a Mentor. Typically about 30 percent of the international students choose to participate and there are about twenty active Mentor/Student partnerships during each semester. However, the community includes former international student s and their mentors who often remain in contact for years.
The program is mutually beneficial for the students and the Chestertown community. While other colleges and universities offer peer-mentor and faculty-mentor programs, the WC-ALL International Student Mentoring Program is distinct because it links adult volunteers from Chestertown and other communities in Kent County with the international student community at Washington College.