Global Ambassador's Program
Imagine leaving your home for a country thousands of miles away to go to a university. People at your new school don't speak your language, and you have to pick up new concepts in a classroom that are not being explained in your native tongue. The people don't enjoy the same foods as you, the weather is different and you know absolutely no one. That’s the case for many international students who come to Oral Roberts University.
That was the case for Vonny Kumala from Indonesia, who is now one of the mentors of a new program ORU has started for new international students.
With over 90 nations represented on campus, the international student department is creating new opportunities to help these international students acclimate to the academic and social aspects of coming to a new country. One of the unique programs to help this transition is the international center’s new Global Ambassador’s program (GAP). Officially launched fall 2016, GAP serves to meet the specific needs of international students new to the U.S educational system through weekly meetings with a fellow-international student mentor. Vonny Kumala, a GAP mentor from Indonesia, has been greatly impacted already by the program.
“The program has helped me personally in many ways. I believe that my communication skills are improving. I am growing a lot in my knowledge of other cultures, because when you spend time with people you gain something from them.”
The program’s personal mentoring is designed to help reduce some of the stresses that come with studying abroad including learning style and expectations, social integration, and spiritual growth. In addition, GAP mentors serve as student ambassadors by engaging their mentee’s in campus activities and community events. Mentorship sessions typically last a minimum of 30 minutes each week and are designed to help with language, cross-cultural academics, and preparation for interacting in a global marketplace.
“To be part of this program helps me to grow makes me realize that I’m capable of doing something big. We are given the privilege to be a mentor for a new coming student who has no idea of what ORU is like or how US culture works. I personally felt burdened at first knowing that I have someone that I'm responsible to help through the first year of college life. Most Mondays the mentors spend time together and build our understanding of being good leaders. The program itself is wanting us to connect, engage, and inspire our mentee. One of the mentee is about four years older than me. I have no confidence to be her mentor, but I need to carry my commitment to the program. However, as time passes, I'm more confident in myself that I can do anything as long as I give my best and give it a try. Now my mentee is more open to me. I just need to be the first one to step out and care. I hope that I would be an inspiration to them, and help them know that they can be a great mentor and leader too.”
As of November 1, 2016, the program had provided over 250 hours of face to face mentoring for international students. GAP currently has 10 mentors representing a variety of nations such as India, Russia, Romania, Zambia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Singapore, Ecuador, and Brazil.