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More and more international students are joining the Humanities' mentor group, as the organizers are getting ready for a new, re-booted programme’s second semester
After only one semester, the Faculty of Humanities’ new volunteer-run mentor programme, the QA Programme, has managed to secure a large number of international mentors to help exchange students ease into life in Copenhagen.
A controversial point in the Faculty-run old mentor program that effectively excluded non-Danish mentors was heavily criticized. So when student volunteers last semester took over the running of the mentor program, they set out to revolutionize it.
“One of our main ideas is that integration works best if internationals and Danes work alongside each other,” says Michael Hockenhull, president of the so-called QA Programme.
Michael Hockenhull estimates that approximately 10 per cent of the QA Programme’s mentors were international students last semester. This semester, the number has increased to nearly half, or 44 per cent: There are 26 international mentors – and 32 Danish ones. At present, there are 123 mentees.
An important part of the QA Programme is that international students not only participate in the events but that they also work on planning and hosting them:
“It is understandable that internationals are busy, since it is tough and energy consuming to move to a new place – so we have to find ways to make it as easy for them to join as possible,” Michael Hockenhull says.
Everyone who has been at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) for more than one semester can be a mentor, but the team behind the QA Programme maintains high expectations for potential mentors.
People must be ready to commit themselves to the programme, according to Michael Hockunhull.
“Following the lead of the Studenterhuset café we have introduced mentor interviews and contracts to ensure that those who volunteer understand that they are taking on a responsibility by being a mentor.”
There are not going to be any significant changes in the QA Programme this semester compared to the last. Instead, Michael Hockenhull wishes to focus on cementing what has already been created:
“The previous semester was quite intensive and I believe it is important that we consolidate the work we have done so far, iron out the kinks of the events and structures, and make the organization sustainable. A danger of running a volunteer association is, that it runs out of steam, which is something we are working to avoid.”
David Folting, treasurer of the QA programme, says that they have one advantage this semester: Mentees from last semester.
“We are more successful at getting mentees becoming mentors, but we like the idea of passing it on,” David Folting, treasurer at the QA programme, says.
The QA Programme’s next event is a workshop for the newly signed up mentors where they, among other things, will learn about cultural differences from a professional presenter and meet the other mentors in order to share experiences and match expectations.
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