The International Graduate Mentoring Program is an important group for the graduate community. An international move can be exhilarating, and not without some level of stress. Throwing a full course of graduate studies into the mix can lead to additional obstacles, which is why the International Graduate Mentoring Program is such an important resource for international students.
Run by two graduate students, under the direction of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, two current graduate students are paired with four incoming international students. The mentors are available to meet the incoming students when they first arrive in Hanover, assisting with settling in to new accommodations, helping with buying any supplies necessary, and serving as a main point of contact throughout the year for any advice the mentees need.
In addition to the mentor/mentee pairing, the IGMP also organizes social events giving international and local graduate students the chance to meet and socialize throughout the year. There is also at least one discussion session with a faculty member during the year in which international students share their experiences and concerns about their time in the US and get some advice.
We asked outgoing chair for his views on the group, and he offered his thoughts on how IGMP affected his life in Hanover:
“IGMP has had a profound impact on my life and the life of other international students. I was a mentee during my first year in 2010, and became a mentor in 2011 until my last year at Dartmouth. I co-chaired the program since 2013. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and I know for a fact that the mentees that signed up for the program benefited immensely in their transition to life in the US and also during their stay. This is a wonderful program and I am confident that Alan and Giulia, the new co-chairs, are going to do a great job leading it forward and making IGMP's services even better than they already are.”
This year we welcome two new co-chairs of the International Graduate Mentoring Program group: Alan Collins from the UK, and Giulia Orazi from Italy. We asked them a few questions about themselves and feature their answers here.
Tell us your program and year.
Alan: MCB 4th year
Giulia: Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Microbiology/Immunology, 4th year
Why did you choose Dartmouth?
Alan: Dartmouth is unique in that it is a fantastic research institution that is tucked away in the mountains. I like living in such a beautiful place with easy access to outdoor activities.
Giulia: When I interviewed, the graduate students seemed genuinely happy here. Also, the high degree of collaboration between labs and the beautiful location.
Where did you complete your undergrad work?
Alan: BSc Biology from the University of Bath, UK
Giulia: Barnard College, Biology
Where are you from and what do you recommend people do if they find themselves there?
Alan: I am from Southampton, England. If someone visited that area then I would suggest visiting some of the historical landmarks in the city such as the Bargate, which is a remnant of the 12th century wall that was built around the city as well as one of the many medieval castles which have been preserved in the area. It’s also a short drive from Stonehenge which is definitely worth visiting; especially at the solstice when the locals carry out a pagan celebration.
Giulia: Milan, Italy. Climb up to the roof of the Duomo (Milan’s cathedral) to get a spectacular view of the city!
What are your hobbies or interests?
Alan: Rock climbing, hiking, skiing.
Giulia: Skiing, rock climbing, hiking, gardening, knitting.
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as IGMP Co-chairs?
Alan: My core aims for my tenure as co-chair are: Firstly to develop our relationship with the office of visa and immigration to increase the awareness of recently accepted students of the IGMP and what it offers. Secondly, I intend to promote a greater sense of community between international students to foster friendships and make the most of the opportunity for people from all over the world to learn, not just about the country they are visiting, but also about the countries of other international students. Moving to a new country on your own is a daunting task. The IGMP offers an invaluable resource by helping new arrivals to navigate the difficulties of finding their way to Dartmouth and getting settled in. As well as providing support, the IGMP offers a community of people who are all experiencing the same adventure from different perspectives. As international students living in the US we have a wonderful opportunity to learn, not only about the USA, but also about the countries that our fellow international students have come from. I think this community of people sharing an adventure together is the greatest strength of the IGMP.
Giulia: Moving to the US from another country can be a very big change. IGMP helps incoming students through this important transition by offering mentorship and advice, and by fostering an international student community. We hope to increase participation in IGMP among incoming international graduate students by reaching out to them early in the VISA process. We also want to increase involvement of the greater Dartmouth graduate community.
Tell us something people might not know about you:
Alan: I came to Dartmouth as an undergraduate for a year to work as a research assistant at the DHMC. During the year I spent here I fell in love with the mountains and forest and knew I had to come back for graduate school.
Giulia: I enjoy learning new languages and currently can speak four.