International Student Mentoring Program Makes MU Debut

The University welcomes 38 international students into a new International Student Mentor Program for this academic year.

The program was designed by the Global Education Office to specifically help students from abroad. Corey Inzana, the International Student Advisor for Global Education, said, “There was a great opportunity to aid international students as they transition to life in the US and navigate the University environment at Monmouth.”

According to Barbara Nitzberg, Assistant Director of International Students and Faculty Services, this fall semester Monmouth has international students from a wide range of countries including Canada, China, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Jamaica, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Scotland.

There will also be a plethora of students from countries that Monmouth has never had connections with, such as Jamaica.

The program has student mentors from all different kinds of leadership roles, and areas of campus life. “The mentors are completely volunteering and are looking to share what they love about Monmouth with new people. They are expected to aid in the navigation of the Monmouth experience: to help the international students feel like Monmouth is more than a class room, but a home away from home,” states Corey.

 The mentors and mentees will meet twice a month to discuss their acclimation to the University. The mentors will help them enjoy their classroom experiences, locate academic resources and find ways of community engagement.

Jalize Canela, a junior health studies student, was selected as one of the 30 mentors for the program. She was inspired to become a mentor after an Alternative Break trip to Nicaragua this past summer with Inzana. Canela said, “The best way to learn about a culture is to immerse yourself in it and interact with the people, not necessarily through a textbook.”

Canela hopes to help her mentees by becoming a resource for them, introducing them to her own group of friends as well as accommodating the international students by becoming familiar with their interests. She said, “I want to give them insight about myself as well as learn from them, for example, maybe what their school was like or where they came from.”

Canela herself is Hispanic and she feels that it can be hard to transition into a new country with a new language and new people. Her goal is to help international students grow and hopes to expand her knowledge about different cultures in the world through this program.

Bin Hu, an international graduate student majoring in software engineering was inspired into moving from China to the United States because  Jiacun Wang, a profesor of Computer Science and Software Engineering. Hu explained that Professor Wang had visited his university where he introduced Hu to Monmouth.

Hu came through the America China Corporation to fulfill his dream of studying software engineering. Hu said, “I’m happy to be here. Monmouth University is almost the same size of my school back home, but I am nervous to communicate and scared that I will not understand something during class.” He hopes that his mentor will help him practice his English, and become familiar with the American culture and student life at Monmouth.

Prashanti Mallojula, an international graduate student, arrived from Hyderbad, India to study computer science at the University. She discovered Monmouth when browsing on the Internet. After her first visit to the school, she knew Monmouth would be the right one for herself.

Mallojula thinks that the mentorship program for international students is a wonderful idea. Mallojula said, “I have a mentor who is very friendly and I find it comforting because coming to a new college you don’t know much and often feel confused.” She stated that she was afraid to talk to people when she first arrived and hesitated to order food on campus because she is a vegetarian. Prashanti is glad that she has been assigned a mentor who can help her with any issues that may arise.

Inzana asserts that the program will be an impactful experience for all the students involved. “The Global Education Office hopes that a cross cultural exchange takes place as the mentors and mentees get to know one another and share more about their lives with each other,” he said.