A dependable lifeline to new international students
What is a peer mentor?
A peer mentor is a resourceful person who acts as a facilitated reflection and support for new international students. With their experience and observations, they help guide new students through the various encounters that they may have when they move into an absolutely new environment.
My peer mentor experience
Being an international peer mentor, I got an opportunity to serve as part of a large support system for new international students. I was ever ready to help international students with their transition to living in the U.S. and being a student at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC). From answering questions to lending a supportive ear, from emailing communications to creating social media resources, I tried my level best to help create an inclusive community for international folks at TMCC. Engaging students of different backgrounds promotes meaningful interactions and develops intercultural communication skills. As a mentor, it comes down to building relationships along with engagement so that the students feel at home and stay out of worries, confusion, and loneliness.
My favorite parts of the job
Being a social media support for International Student Services was my favorite part of this job. With my knowledge of digital media, I helped enhance our viewership and contributed content for the social media channels. Not only did it help me polish my digital media skills, but it also gave me immense happiness to share the diverse forms of information. There is a lot that goes into social media with the prospect of creating influential and engaging content. Coming up with ideas, putting them together into graphics, designing and highlighting pictures, and adding important details — I loved contributing in this role.
Another substantial thing that I got to share was my job-hunt experience. In an employment workshop, I was able to contribute my views about all the struggles that I faced while I was looking for a job during my OPT period. This topic is sensitive as getting into a professional world is not very easy for international students. The job market varies from country to country. There are steps we need to follow before searching for a job. From looking for the right fit to amending the resume, from being aware of potential job scams to coping with rejection. As a mentor, I discussed various such aspects with my fellow students.
A big writing opportunity
The role of peer mentor at TMCC International Student Services also laid forward a fantastic opportunity for me to contribute my blogs and articles to the prestigious platform of StudyUSA.com. For a passionate writer, it seems to be a golden opportunity when they are able to voice their interests, opinions, and personal experiences. Not only that, but this also offers a great opportunity for recognition as a student blogger. Towards the end of the semester, I got a chance to participate in the International Education Week that included many cultural activities and diverse events. Showcasing the tradition of henna made me connect back to my roots and brought so much joy in sharing my culture.
Co-hosting coffee hour
Last but not least, co-hosting the International Coffee Hour series was a superb experience. International Coffee Hour promotes the value of cultural exchange as we recognize and celebrate our diversity through faculty, student, and community presentations on travel and cultural heritage. Each session is all about learning and absorbing the fascinating experiences of culture that the speakers share. The presentations leave you awestruck while learning about a country’s history, traditions, language, norms, food, and culture.
The most rewarding part of being an International Peer Mentor is to know the unique story of each student. It is never easy to leave your family and move to a foreign nation all by yourself. Yes, it is a better quality of education but there are also emotional and mental challenges that come along. As a peer mentor, I felt propitious for being there for all international students not only as a guide or support but also as a good friend they could have while they are amidst all new people.
Aanchal Tangri from India is working towards an associate’s degree in Communication Studies at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
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