Flinders is introducing a pilot mentoring program in 2012 to provide international students an opportunity to obtain advice and support from University alumni and to benefit from their experiences.
Alumni Connect will match international undergraduate and postgraduate students with a professional from a suitable discipline for a one-to-one mentoring relationship, with the aim of enhancing the students’ job-readiness.
Ms Nina Tabor, Flinders University Career Development Consultant (International) and Alumni Connect program coordinator, said that international students often face difficulties when seeking employment because of their lack of local networks and contacts.
“Mentors can assist in filling this void,” Ms Tabor said.
“They do not need to know, or to be able to provide all the answers – rather they encourage students to use their available resources to identify solutions,” she said.
International students can also experience challenges communicating when English is their second language, and mentors can help by providing opportunities for the students to practise and improve their business communication skills.
Mentors are sought particularly in the allied health and business areas, but mentors need not necessarily be from those areas. In 2012, Alumni Connect runs from late July to mid-November with a time commitment of a minimum of four meetings.
“While face-to-face mentoring is preferred, mentoring by email or Skype is possible,” Ms Tabor said.