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Colombian student: We were ‘better mentors’

Thrown out of the mentor group, Mauro Castaño is upset. He and other international mentors have worked hard. And they have a lot to offer the mentor group, he says

We did not have to wait long to see the reaction to a Faculty of Humanities Mentor Group decision to no longer use international students as mentors.

Colombian student Mauro Castaño is one of the international mentors who has been kicked out, and he finds the decision rude.

He himself had a Danish mentor when he arrived to Denmark and it was, he says, a complete disaster. The mentor couldn’t care less about him, he says.

International students valuable mentors

Danes have advantages over international mentors in some areas. They know the culture, the language and the geography of the city.

However, international mentors have a higher degree of emphathy, since they have been in the same situation once before and are able to help people adapt easier, argues Mauro.

»They know things that newcomers should be interested to know, as well as sharing the feeling and experience of being new in a different country and culture«, he explains.

Dissapointed with Danish mentor

Mauro had a bad experience with his Danish mentor when he arrived to Denmark: »She never showed up, and when I tried to get in contact with her, she replied to me in Danish to an e-mail that I sent in English«, he remembers.

In general, mentors are reserved and you have to be lucky to become friends with your mentor, Mauro thinks.

»Sometimes you can even find a person who will switch from English to Danish every time she has the opportunity. This happened to some friends of mine,« he states.

Separate event committee from mentors

The decision made by the Faculty is partly based on problems with last semester’s event organization. Mauro has a suggestion for improvement of the Mentor Group programme. He believes that mentors should be separated from the event committee. If anything, this would allow internationals to come aboard again as mentors.

»Mentors, as far as I understand, are to help you when you are lost, to teach you about the university, the culture, the society, to be your guides«, Mauro says.

But »an event committee should be something separate. Done by people who already know how the system and the university works«.

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