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Mentorship exchanges allow students to ‘study abroad’ without leaving home

January 11, 2019

While attending Red River College, students will make friends, become exposed to new ideas, and learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workplace. The one thing they might not get to do is study abroad — unless they take time out of their academic schedule to do so.

But RRC’s Intercultural Mentorship Program allows students to broaden their horizons without having to incur the costs of plane tickets, living expenses or additional student fees. In fact, the only investment required is 10 hours of volunteer time, spread over the winter term.

Each year, RRC welcomes over 700 immigrant and international students who wish to further their education in Canada, just as the province regularly welcomes new immigrants who help to grow our economy and strengthen cultural diversity.

In the case of students, cross-cultural exchanges can have positive impacts on their careers, as well.

“Having an understanding of diversity and cross-cultural communication are key power skills to have in our global economy,” says Vera Godavari, RRC’s Mentorship Program Coordinator.

“In Michelle Obama’s talk on The Importance of Studying Abroad, she emphasizes building intercultural bridges as a key to success in the global economy. As she points out, good grades are important, but it’s also about having ‘real experiences with the world beyond your borders — experiences with languages and cultures and society that are very different from your own.’”

Under RRC’s Mentorship Program, local students are paired with international or immigrant counterparts for a series of learning opportunities in which they can share each other’s culture and create meaningful connections.

As Godavari points out, the program helps to enhance what Obama describes as “cooperation by immersing yourself in one another’s culture, learning each other’s stories and getting past the stereotypes and misconceptions.”

“The connections made between students today can blossom into so much more tomorrow — improving the future for all of us,” Godavari explains.

Sign up now to become an intercultural mentor for Winter 2019. The deadline to apply is midnight on Sunday, Jan. 20.