Helen Farrell, Cristina Pastore, Neera Handa, Joanne Dearlove, Ed Spalding
Abstract: Peer mentoring, a collaborative program offered at University of Western Sydney, may enhance the educational outcomes and the first year experience of many first year university students. Learning Advisors, Counsellors and academics work together to train and support peer mentors from various Schools within the University. In training mentors, lecturing and content teaching is kept to a minimum. The group process, that is most used in the training of student peer mentors at UWS, is modelling of desired behaviours followed by opportunities for the trainee mentors to strengthen their skills by role rehearsal exercises in which mentors work towards facilitating cooperation, teamwork, joint responsibility and non-directive task oriented activity. This is followed by exercises that teach appropriate group facilitation techniques and finally by trainees preparing and running their own mentoring sessions.
This paper discusses the processes and benefits of this program for the mentees as well as the mentors using the program conducted at UWS as an example. The paper also suggests that mentoring is a suitable strategy for improving the first year experience of international students beginning university in Australia.
Key Words: Peer mentoring, transition, integrated academic support programs, international students.
Helen Kalaboukas, Katherine Yannakis, Liza Ng, Michele Kemm, Taeko Sakurai, Theresa Savage
Abstract: Swinburne Integration and Internationalisation Program (IIP) was a joint project between Student Services, the International Student Unit and the Japanese Department. The need for greater internationalization and integration was identified by the Counselling Department and a specific program was designed to address this need.
The aims of the IIP were to decrease isolation and segregation, increase cultural awareness; and enhance intercultural interaction amongst International students. Overall the program aimed to assist students to improve their personal, social and vocational skills.
The IIP consisted of four one-hour workshops. 70 International, exchange, local, TAFE, and Higher Ed students took part in the program. Activities included in the workshops were: cultural awareness tasks, Japanese language tasks and social activities. The overwhelming responses from students were all very positive and participants expressed keen interest in taking part in programs such as this in the future.
Keywords: Student support, internationalisation, intercultural, integration, cultural, awareness
Clare Rhoden & Kathryn Boin
Abstract: I’ve settled in, but it’s a hard question because there are no methods, it’s just like an ongoing thing. It’s just like a transition thing – you can’t say ‘If you do this, it will make it better’ because it is based on the individual.*
International students, who choose to pursue study in a foreign university, are among the highest-achieving candidates in most institutions. Nevertheless they experience a number of transition issues, intensified by being far from their usual supports, in a new academic culture, language and way of life. As well as adapting to the academic skill requirements of the host institution, international students must complete a successful transition to being a tertiary student in the host country. This chapter suggests practical strategies to ground the academic and social success of international students.
Keywords: Transition, international students, social , academic, success, culture, student support
Abstract: This paper attempts to explore the stages of development that a homestay family goes through and the psychological significance of each stage. A family who is recruited to be a homestay provider for the first time needs guidance and support from an experienced professional as well as from other families who have been providing this service for a certain length of time. Two ‘new’ families have been selected and the stages they have developed through have been mapped against Tuckman’s group development process as outlined by Samuel Gladding in ‘Group Work – A Counselling Specialty’. Variations to the model will be discussed as well in this presentation. The stages will be explored and strategies will be designed to optimise the experience for the families, students and professionals at institutions working with these groups. The increased understanding of the developmental process will benefit all involved.
Keywords: Student support, homestay, relationships, development
Cheryl Cook, Julie Murray and Dr Stuart Levy
Abstract: The challenges of engaging with a university environment are encountered on at least three levels – academic, personal and cultural. Not all of these challenges are stated, visible, easily recognised or even acknowledged. As a consequence, difficulties often arise for individuals to successfully navigate their way through the uncharted waters of academia. Studies and professional experience, have shown that students repeatedly encounter common traps, difficulties and problems when making the transition into the tertiary learning environment. Whilst these are commonplace observations, orientation strategies for dealing with them could be more effective and innovative. Traditionally, institutions take a conservative approach to student induction, and these methods are notoriously poor mechanisms for the effective transfer of information. Rather than talking ‘at’ the assembled students in a passive learning environment the eM-Power Game seeks to raise students’ awareness of important information through an activity based learning format.
Key words: game playing, transition, international student transition, problem solving, teaching and
learning, international student support