First step towards integration: where to start?

Authors: Margherita, Maryna

It’s the first time that the Mentorship project has been launched at the University of Padova.
We are honoured to be able to participate in it as a part of the team and are aware of the
responsibility associated with it. However, we are also truly excited and looking forward to
starting our planned activities!
Even though we are quite a small number of people in the team of mentors, just six of us, we
represent different faculties and even different countries, since some of us are international
students ourselves. What brings us together is the goal of embracing interculturalism and
helping the international students to feel just like at home in Unipd.
Obviously it was not easy to start from zero as a Mentorship group in our University, so our
first efforts were focused primarily on dealing with certain administrative issues and
recognising the actual needs of the international students.
As our first activity, we created a survey asking international students about the main areas
of life and procedures that might present a difficulty for them. The survey has been sent to all
the international students of the second year of University. It was a nice way to introduce our
team and to have a first contact with the students as well as to let them know that the
University cares about them. Last but not least, the survey helped us in understanding the
priorities of our future activities as a Mentorship team. We structured the survey in six
sections in order to cover different areas: essential needs, accomodation and job search,
language difficulties, level of awareness of the available services provided by the University,
the community and neighbourhood integration and the special issues during the pandemic.
The answers from the students were extremely insightful in the sense that they served as a
basis for us to draft a plan of activities for the following months. We will try our best in
making these activities interesting and useful for the students.
This is certainly only the starting point and we can’t wait to continue helping the students in
this ‘youth-to-youth’ kind of way. In our opinion, it is sort of the spirit of the Mentorship project
and we also strongly believe it could be an effective way to support international students in
their study experience in Italy.

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