Mentor Training Camp
On September 19–20, training in English for LSMU Erasmus + student mentors was for the first time organized at the Sadauskai homestead near Vilkija town. There were 20 participants including our university’s full time students from Sweden, Germany, France, India, Ghana, Nigeria and Lithuania. Like every year, the International Relations and Study Centre together with Erasmus students’ network (ESN LSMU) assembled mentor team formed both from LSMU international full-time students and their Lithuanian counterparts. Each exchange student who comes to LSMU under Erasmus+ program has his/her own friend, a so-called mentor who is there for him/her to facilitate not only one’s basic ordinary needs such as accommodation, navigation in the city, public transport, but is also actively advising on any commonplace and study inquiries such as communication with academic personnel.
Mentors acquired knowledge from “Efektas Group” founder Linas Staršelskis and lecturer Fidan Mehdiyeva while being surrounded by nature. LSMU full time students focused on the better self-other understanding. Various activities helped them develop valuable skills and discover new hobbies. At the beginning of the training session, the attendees had to briefly introduce themselves, which later it turned into a 7-minute story telling. After spending some time getting to know one another better, mentors were taught how to welcome the incoming Erasmus students as well as how to create and maintain mutual connection. Working in groups, the participants had to invent solutions for diverse issues specific to incoming students including homesickness, disagreements with roommates, both religious and cultural differences.
Through simulation-based training, artistic and creative skills of the mentors were revealed while they were mimicking often-emerging difficulties of foreign students who experience acclimatization and cultural shock in Lithuania. Specifically prepared and adapted tasks for the mentoring program gave the guidelines to the attendees on how to practically apply the gained knowledge when actually working with international students on a local level. Mentor training encouraged cooperation between mentors, provided the participants with the relevant information on welcoming Erasmus+ exchange students. The training also revealed communication and intercultural cooperation peculiarities, such as aspects of the communication psychology, time management together with organizational and stress control techniques. Eventually, after a full day of intensive training sessions, the students had a relaxing time in sauna, and on Sunday morning they tried their muscle strength at the volleyball, basketball, and badminton courts.
This year in autumn semester, LSMU welcomed 26 Erasmus+ students, who did not get discouraged by inconveniences and uncertainties caused by Covid-19 global pandemic. Instead, the incoming students took all the recommended safety precautions prior to arrival to LSMU, which led them to start their studies at our University on time. The majority of the accepted students came from the partner universities in Germany, Spain and France. It is worth mentioning that every year, the International Relations and Study Centre along with ESN LSMU invite all the interested and motivated students to join the team of mentors, whose main goal is to improve and get stronger together in the multicultural environment. If you are interested, please, make sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text & photos: Agnė Jašauskaitė, International Programme Coordinator
Text: Rugilė Satkauskaitė, Mentor of Incoming Erasmus+ Students