PSU’s Global Ambassadors—Students Mentoring Students
By Jess Pine, International Programming Coordinator, and Jane Barry, International Student Advisor
The Global Ambassador Student Leadership program, now in its second year, has become a showcase program that highlights the affirmative power of student-to-student mentoring as it pertains to international student success and retention. Student mentoring programs are considered best practice in the international education environment due, in part, to the positive outcomes and connections that are made as a result of shared perspectives. Effective international peer mentoring programs allow for both parties to gain from the partnership in a myriad of ways—increased confidence, self-reliance, increased comfort in a new setting, greater cultural awareness, outlets for meeting new people and forming friendships, as well as a greater sense of autonomy and independence as a student.
Our Global Ambassadors (GAs) are matched up with incoming international students prior to the start of the school year. They communicate with their mentees early and, as soon as the new students arrive on campus the GAs guide and support them as they acclimate to a new environment. These activities are as varied as touring the surrounding area, discussing differences and challenges of American classroom culture, studying together in the library, attending campus events, or simply going out for coffee. GA mentors have gone through cross-cultural awareness and leadership training, and are well supported and guided by the professional staff of the Center for Global Engagement (CGE). Some past GA mentors have expressed their own growth and satisfaction, saying:
- “One of my greatest achievements is seeing the international students thrive at Plymouth.”
- “Being an international student myself, holding this position has helped me learn and grow as an individual.”
- “I now see the international students around campus … and they are full of smiles telling me how great they are “getting along here in academics, sports and socially.”
- “I have gained confidence and my leadership skills have improved.”
Global Ambassador applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are currently being reviewed. While the review process is not yet completed, it already appears as though PSU will have yet another group of peer mentors who will be excellent supporters and friends to our new international students.