At the UGR, we feel that diversity provides a great opportunity for creating rich learning environments and promoting integration. The UGR Mentor Programme (in Spanish: Programa Mentor), which was officially launched in 2012, is a student-oriented initiative designed to help our international community with their cultural, academic and social integration at the UGR.
Moving to a new study destination can sometimes be a daunting prospect. Our Mentor Programme aims to make the transition as stress-free as possible, enhancing the academic and personal experience of incoming international students, enabling them to form close bonds with our home students, and introducing them to everyday life at the UGR.
Likewise, the Mentor Programme also provides our home students with an excellent opportunity to gain insights into new cultures and lifestyles, practice their language skills, and build up their international contacts and networks. In this regard, the Mentor Programme represents one of the University of Granada’s key ‘internationalization at home’ initiatives.
As well as assisting international students with the initial administrative procedures they encounter, the mentors or “buddies” also help their peers to find their bearings in the city and learn Spanish more effectively, thereby enabling them to overcome potential language barriers.
How does it work?
The programme kicks off in September every year and normally runs for a semester or full academic year (depending on the availability of our home students). Mentors must complete a 10-hour preparatory course on intercultural skills provided by the UGR in the month of July before participating.
The UGR’s International Relations Office then pairs each UGR mentor up with an international student from the same Faculty or School, prior to their arrival. The mentor gets in touch with the international student they have been assigned and helps them resolve any issues related to travelling to Granada or getting around the UGR. They meet up during the UGR’s Orientation Days for International Students and from this moment onward the mentors begin assisting international students with everything from completing mandatory administrative procedures, such as registering at the Office for Foreign Residents, to searching for accommodation and finding their way around the University’s campuses and Granada. The mentors also organise cultural activities such as visits to monuments and historical sites; guided tours; excursions; concerts; plays etc. and establish close rapport with international students by regularly organising meet-ups.
The Buddy Abroad Programme
In addition to the Mentor Programme, the UGR recently launched the Buddy Abroad Programme, which aims to connect UGR students who intend to complete a mobility period abroad with students from the same foreign University where they will be studying. In other words, international students participating in the Mentor Programme subsequently become mentors of UGR students, a reciprocal process that greatly facilitates the academic, social and cultural integration of the UGR community completing mobility periods abroad at other universities.