New peer mentoring program for international students

Peterborough ON – (October 8, 2014) – Fleming International Student Services held a welcome reception yesterday, bringing students, faculty and staff, and community members together to welcome new international students to the Sutherland Campus.

More than 90 people were in attendance, and the event included welcomes from Tony Tilly, President, Fleming College; Joan Ross, Chair, Board of Governors; Kemi Akapo, New Canadians Centre; Bharat Mistry, Indo-Canadian Association of the Kawarthas; and Arjun Hiranandani, International Student Club President.

International Student Services would like to thank everyone who attended, the volunteers who helped to organize the event, and the International Student Club, who organized a fun-filled DJ Night after the formal welcome.

At the event, International Student Services announced the launch of two new programs to support the social integration of international students in campus life: the International Peer Mentor Program and the International Kitchen. These free programs help international students connect with Canadian students, share their culture, and develop soft skills vital to success in the Canadian labour market.

Peer Mentoring
This program was based on a successful pilot project launched last spring with international students in the English Language Bridge Program, where 21 mentees were matched with a Canadian or upper semester international student.

This September, 185 new students from 28 different countries began their studies at a Fleming College campus in Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, or Cobourg, and many of them wanted a peer mentor.

Debbie Harrison described the benefits for Canadian students who get involved.

“When local students become peer mentors, they build a friendship with someone they normally might not have had a chance to meet, especially if they come from a small town where there isn’t a lot of diversity. Mentors become familiar with different accents, cultures, and places around the world, and this really helps them when they enter the workforce.”

Montana was a mentor last spring and says mentoring, “has been much more than just being involved in the community here at Fleming College. It has given me the opportunity to meet people and make lifelong friends.”

Another mentor, Sylvia, is an immigrant to Canada. She says, “having gone through the same experience transitioning from a different country myself, there wasn’t a program like this for me, so l had to figure out everything by myself. When this program was launched, l was so excited to know that l could help someone with what l know from experience.”

Mentors and mentees are encouraged to sign up now and fill out an online volunteer application on myCampus under Student Life. The Frost campus International Peer Mentor Program will be announced at the upcoming Welcome reception on Oct. 14.

International Kitchen
The International Kitchen will begin in November, and will engage Culinary Management and international students from the School of Business in an integrated academic and co-curricular Student Life experience. Students from different cultural backgrounds will share their culture by preparing meals together in the Fulford’s kitchen.

Student engagement in the leadership of this initiative is high, and Project Management students are fulfilling their Applied Project credit by leading the planning process. More information will be available about the Kitchen later in the fall semester.

For more information about either of these programs, please contact Debbie Harrison at diversity@flemingcollege.ca.

About Fleming College
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Science, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has 5,900 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and more than 68,000 alumni.

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For more information:
Debbie Harrison
Coordinator, Diversity & Accessibility, & International Student Supports
debbie.harrison@flemingcollege.ca