The Lewis College of Business has started an international student mentorship program where faculty and staff help international students get into the Marshall University community and student life away from home.
Syed Hasanabbas, LCOB student, implemented the program to help other international business students feel more welcomed on campus and in the LCOB.
“I came up with this proposal to set up a mentorship program within the Lewis College of Business and we wanted our faculty and staff to be involved,” Hasanabbas said. “We have over a dozen faculty and staff who volunteered to participate with the program.”
Having been through the process himself, Hasanabbas said he wanted to help other international students integrate more easily into their new home.
“We at Marshall University have a big international population and myself being an international student, I have gone through the whole process of coming from a different country,” Hasanabbas said. “In the beginning, it’s very easy to get lost, and even little things like buying a toothbrush or where to open a bank account, you need someone like a mentor to talk to, a person you can go to.”
This specific mentorship program is centered on students within the LCOB to help both the students and mentors become more accountable for the students’ transition.
“The program is not only beneficial to the students, but it’s equally beneficial, if not more, to the mentor and to the community in general because it increases the knowledge, acceptability and it helps the international students gel in better with the local community,” Hasanabbas said.
With holidays around the corner, most international students are not able to go home. Mentors will help students sort out where they will be going for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinner.
“Hassanabbas came to me with this idea and I told him to write it up,” said Jackie Agesa, associate dean for the LCOB. “So he implemented it. I am also going to be a mentor in the program, so I’m looking forward to that. Actually my husband and I, since we’re both faculty members here, we each are mentors in the program.”
“I had gotten some feedback from the students that they were feeling somewhat isolated,” Agesa said. “I think it’s going to help them not feel as isolated and what’s really important is that I want them to look at the faculty members as people they can count on and if they problems they can come and ask us. I want them to know that we’re here to help them succeed in any way that we can.”
The LCOB international student mentorship program officially started this week.
Kelsie Lively can be contacted at [email protected]