Thursday, December 17, 2020

Psychology Peer Mentors Reflect on the Semester

In the Fall 2020 semester, Noor Iyraputri binti Ibrahim (IYRA) and Anita Feng, undergraduate students from the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, were International Peer Mentors. Mentors in the College of Liberal Arts are student volunteers that assist new international students with their transition to the UMN.

Being international students themselves, IYRA from Malaysia and Anita from Qingdao, understood the struggles of the students they were mentoring. As the program itself was brand new this year, both IYRA and Anita were part of the creative team to help develop this program for future use. One of the challenges this fall was to provide a familiar, warm, and safe space for CLA international students to connect while social distancing guidelines were in place. By looking at the tools available to them through the university they have been able to achieve the space they were looking for.

As psychology majors, Anita and IYRA were able to use the tools they have learned to help make this program successful. The research skills allowed them to analyze the situation to determine the best solution for the program and the individual. Also, learning more about psychology helped to develop a stronger sense of empathy to make connections with the students they are assisting.

Both mentors feel this program is very important to build connections between new and current international students and hopes the program will continue to thrive. Also, Anita hopes that domestic students could take the time to understand the struggles an international student may have and provide an nonjudgmental and comfortable environment for international peers.

For CLA international students that may be interested in this program email:
Headshot of IYRA

Noor Iyraputri binti Ibrahim (IYRA), an international student hailing from Malaysia, is a senior this year. IYRA is currently finishing up her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Mass Communications. IYRA got involved in the program through the connections she made in her current position as a CLA Peer Advisor/Office Assistant.

Headshot of Anita Feng
Anita Feng, a third-year student from Qingdao is also a peer mentor for international students. Anita is working on her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Anita got involved as she related to the challenges and obstacles incoming international students have during their summer orientation and registration.

Composed by Flora Pollack, communications assistant.