The University of Iowa

iPeer Mentorship Program

iPeer Mentorship Program

The iPeer Mentorship Program pairs new international students (mentees) with returning international students (mentor). The main goals of the iPeer Mentorship Program are to provide support to new international students for their transition and personal development, as well as to empower them to become leaders on campus. Mentors and mentees will connect prior to mentee’s arrival to Iowa, assisting the mentees’ pre-arrival preparation and transition to Iowa. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to attend events and have conversations to explore topics around academics, campus resources, cultural adjustment, career and other important topics together.

Program History

In Fall 2020, a project group was formed within the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB), including two undergraduate members (Yangyi “Edward” Luo and Zephyr Xiao) and two graduate members (Jeff Lai and Alaa Albashayreh), to discuss the development of a peer mentorship program. Some of the initial goals of the program included connecting a new student with an experienced international student prior to their arrival to help answer questions related to arrival, provide informal advice on academic, career exploration, and connect the new students to campus resources and opportunities once the new students arrive on campus. Additional feedback was gathered from all 2020 – 2021 ISAB members. In Spring 2021, a pilot program was run by the project group members. By the end of Spring 2021, the mentorship program was officially named iPeer Mentorship Program, and the operation of the program was transitioned out of ISAB.

Fall 2021 Mentor Commitment

  • Mentors are required to participate in a virtual training either in the morning of July 30 or the afternoon of August 2 (3-4 hours).
  • Each mentor will be assigned to 1-2 mentees (might adjust based on needs).
  • Mentors are required to participate in the kick-off and closing events with their mentees.
  • We recommend that mentors check in with their mentees at least once a month. Mentors are encouraged to check in with their mentees more frequently during August and September.
  • Mentors and mentees are encouraged to attend events that explore topics around academics, campus resources, cultural adjustment, career development and other important topics together. 

Interested in being a mentor? 

Apply now

 

The Importance of the iPeer Mentorship Program

While there are numerous mentorship programs exist on campus, iPeer is currently the only peer-to-peer mentorship program designed specifically for international students. The shared experience from an international student mentor can help normalize transition and adjustment concerns due to language and cultural differences. Furthermore, mentors are carefully selected and trained so that they can connect their mentees to campus resources and opportunities.

Program Name

The mentorship program name, iPeer, was selected in spring 2021. “I” stands for “international” and “Iowa.” “Peer” emphasizes on the peer connection.

iPeer Program Overview

The program lasts for 5 month for each cycle (August – December, January – May). Mentors will be selected based on recommendation and a selection process. Before the start of the program, mentors will go through a training to understand mentoring, relationship building, and familiarize with campus resources. Mentees will apply for the iPeer Mentorship Program prior to their arrival at Iowa and be paired with a mentor. Mentors and mentees are required to attend a kick-off event and a closing event, and have a monthly check-in conversation during the semester. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to attend events together and have conversations about important topics such as cultural adjustment, personal and carerr development, leadership, and more.

Mentor Expectations

  • Actively support assigned mentees (1-2 students) with their goals during their transition process throughout the semester, including attending required training and events, as well as regular check-in
  • Lead positive change in the international student community and encourage the growth of others
  • Share knowledge and celebrate success
  • Respect the opinions and the needs of others, celebrate and advocate for diversity

Mentor Expectations

  • Mentors will be able to strengthen their skills in communication and relationship building
  • Mentors will make a positive impact on the international student community 

Mentee Expectations

  • Actively engage in conversations and actively with their assigned mentors, including attending required training and events, as well as check-in
  • Be responsible for your growth and learning, and encourage the growth of others
  • Respect the opinions and the needs of others, celebrate and advocate for diversity

Mentee Benefits

  • Mentees will be able to develop personal connections as well a a community of support
  • Mentees will get exposure to campus resources and opportunities