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The joys of connecting via alumni mentoring

The joys of connecting via alumni mentoring

Connecting people, creating community and supporting learning opportunities is at the heart of what the University’s Alumni Relations team is about.

Despite the fact we live in a world increasingly dependent upon technologies to provide us with instant information, the importance of communicating directly with another human being cannot be overestimated. Right now, we need that interaction more than ever.

International students, those studying online or those who travel to Tasmania to study at our university tell us they seek that connection.

Recently, we have been fortunate to introduce short-course study tour students studying through the English Language Centre to alumni mentors within our community.

According to alumna Alexandra Waters (BFA 1992, DipEd 1993), Study Tour & English Language Support Programs Coordinator, the connections have proven very positive for both students and mentors alike.

The pilot program generated ongoing conversations, offered a platform to exchange ideas and the sharing of wisdom, as well as supporting the development of language skills.

“The result is relationships that extend beyond the classroom,” Alex said.

Miss Yui Katagiri from Japan’s Kinjo Gakuin University recently participated in the University’s online overseas English language study program and said she benefited from the opportunity to also engage with alumni mentors.

“Our daily lessons covered topics such as Australian culture, food and lifestyle, and this helped me to improve my English skills,” Yui said.

“In addition, I was provided special time to learn English with a focus on my research topic, medical pharmacy, with help from a mentor.

“The mentoring program has enabled me to deepen my professional learning and has motivated me to learn more.  My mentor (Mr David Duerden), whose background career was in pharmacy and health care, has a lot of experience, so I have a lot to learn from him in terms of career development.

“I believe that learning about pharmacy in Australia from him will help me to understand more about my research discipline.  In the future, I would like to learn more about medicines that make use of the marine resources of both maritime countries, as well as about herbal medicines in Australia, which is rich in nature.”

And it seems the benefits flow both ways, with volunteer and staff alumnus David Duerden saying he found the mentoring experience both challenging and interesting.

“I was pleased and happy to continue this as I find there is a benefit both ways … I can happily recommend this kind of opportunity to others,” David said.

Alumna Dr Derris Wood (CertEd 1960, BEd 1981, MEdStud 1987, MEd 1999, PhD 2009) said she had travelled to Japan twice in her life and engaged with the current students about their country.

“They were very pleased that I loved their artistic society, culture and food,” Derris said.

“The students were very new to learning English, but very keen to try … In all it was a very pleasant and rewarding experience.”

Alumni stories and experiences can make a significant impact on students and recent graduates as they plan their lives and careers. If you’re interested in being involved, fill out this expression of interest form here.

Image: Miss Yui Katagiri

This article featured in the monthly eNews Alumni and Friends. If you are a member of the University of Tasmania community and would like to receive this publication, please provide or update your email address.

Published on: 12 Apr 2022 5:17pm