It is your first day at Truckee Meadows Community College. You have been in Reno, Nevada for a couple of days now and today you came in for the first time to complete your check-in at International Student Services. You don’t know anyone yet and you are very nervous to meet new people. When you walk into the DISCO (which stands for Diversity and International Student Center and Office) you are taken aback by the colorful and vibrant atmosphere in the room. You see students hanging out in the lounge area and you even hear different languages being spoken. Then, a guy named Jefferson walks up to you and gives you a warm welcome. He introduces himself as your International Peer Mentor and he proceeds to check in all of your documents into the system. You start chatting with him and you realize he is a student just like you and has been through this exciting and nerve-racking experience as well. You might be wondering: What is an international peer mentor? Well, let me tell you all about what we do and why we love our job!
Here at TMCC we value and celebrate cultural diversity. Our College President and the entire International Student Services Team is proud to receive students from all around the world every semester and welcome them to our home: Reno, Nevada. We understand the uncertainties that international students might feel when moving to a new place and start a whole new life. That is why we have International Peer Mentors who help international students thrive and succeed in all areas. We are motivated to help you embrace your new life abroad the best way you can. As International Peer Mentors we understand what you are going through because we ourselves experienced it as well, and we survived! That is why we are one of the best people on campus to talk to as an international student!
At TMCC we have 3 International Peer Mentors:
Jefferson Phillips is from Costa Rica and is studying Computer Science,
Rena Shimizu is from Japan and her major is Environmental Science, and myself, Valeria Saborio, from Costa Rica, majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Valeria and Jefferson
Valeria and Rena
Here are some of the things we help our students with:
- Introduce incoming international students to the many resources, people and departments within our College like: The Tutoring Center, The Fitness Center, The Academic Advising Center, the Disability and Resource Center, our Library and computer labs, and many more!
- Promote academic and social integration to our College culture through events and activities such as International Student Orientation, workshop series for new international students, International Coffee Hour, French Film Festival, trips and outdoor activities to make sure you are having fun and learning at the same time!
- Communicate and keep up with our students monthly to make sure they are on the right track with their classes, responsibilities and check on their overall well-being. We work with appointments or drop-ins!
- Mentorship on academic success, time management, mental and physical well-being and social interaction.
- Social media outreach on Instagram and Facebook.
Personally, the most rewarding part about being an International Peer Mentor is getting to know each student’s culture and story. Many of our students have come a long way to study in the United States, and it is so motivating to hear about their journeys and future plans. It is very rewarding to be able to give good advice and feedback to our students based on what we have experienced as well. That advice goes from what classes and professors might be a good fit for you, to what is the best supermarket to shop in, to housing recommendations, and much more!
We not only care about our students’ academic life but we also spend time planning fun activities and trips for them to get to know Reno better. Check out some of our recent events and trips:
Roller Skating Night
Having this job has allowed me to meet amazing people and value diversity even more! I value the opportunity of being able to work in The United States as a student worker because it has allowed me to grow professionally in many ways. I am not going to lie, being a full-time student, having another job and being an International Peer Mentor is overwhelming sometimes, but I absolutely love what I do and I hope to inspire more international students to study abroad and receive support from us! We are here to make your time abroad the best time of your life!
Valeria Saborio is from Costa Rica and is pursuing her Industrial and Systems Engineering degree at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.