It is a program for incoming international students and offers them their own personal mentor to help them adjust to college life here in the U.S. The program has just begun this semester but hopes are high for its positive impact on mentors, mentees and the campus.
TWU has over 300 international students, with more than 200 of those enrolled at the Denton campus. There to ensure that international students have the best chance for success in a new country, this program can ease fears about being accepted by showing students that there are people interested in helping them.
Mentors are either international or domestic students that have already studied here and are at least a sophomore.
Coordinator of the Program, Emily Cordero explains: “A mentor is basically their very first best friend. We try to match them based on their majors so they have more in common and can help out with their classes. They do activities together and meet either weekly or biweekly.”
A mentee in the program, Daniela Vargas, from Ecuador said: “I think that this program is really helpful because when you first come here, you don’t know anything about school or how things work, but someone who has already been here helps you to see how things work. That way it’s not shocking when you don’t know what’s going on at all. It’s really helpful.”
Paramita Basu, Daniela’s mentor said: “I came from India and it was a huge cultural shock, a huge difference. If this program had been there at that time, I would have wanted a mentor. I think it is a really good program. We are definitely looking forward to more.”
Student Assistant Marina Resende, from Brazil, shared:“It’s very hard to adapt when you first come here. My first semester was pretty tough, and I had a roommate who was a freshman too, so we kind of helped each other out. If you are by yourself the first time you come here, it’s really, really hard to adapt and get used to all the differences.”
Student Assistant Fathima Zaynab Wazeer, from Sri Lanka, said: “When you first come here you feel kind of alienated, and you don’t know how to go about things here. During orientation, I saw the mentors and mentees interacting and I could see that the mentees were feeling comfortable because they had a person they could go to. I lacked that when I came here.”
It will be fascinating to observe the benefits this program bestows not only on these individual students, but upon the campus as a whole. Emily Cordero states that she hopes TWU students will understand how many international students we have and how important they are to our population.