Statue of Jumbo the Elephant on Tufts campus.

Introducing the Mentor Collective

Tufts University has launched a new, engaging program for incoming international students called the Mentor Collective, which matches first-year international students with some of Tufts' greatest leaders. The Mentor Collective strengthens the Tufts community and offers a place for mentees and mentors alike to build strong support systems.

New graduate students often find it challenging to navigate the intricacies of university life, and those challenges can be magnified for international students. Mentors offer experiential insight on life at Tufts and range from students who are international themselves, are interested in education, leadership development, the creation of inclusive campus spaces, or those who just want to give back to the Tufts community. Mentor Collective sessions take place in-person or online and ensure students thrive by addressing their questions about life at Tufts.

We spoke with current mentor Jiyoung Song, second year master’s student in the Department of Classics, and her mentee Wanjin Wu, entering master’s student in the Department of Economics, and asked them to share the impact that the Mentor Collective has had on their experiences.

Wanjin Wu: When I first reached out to my mentor, Jiyoung, I was super excited and curious about her. After introducing ourselves briefly through email, we knew a lot about each other. The funniest part of our first video chat was that we couldn’t stop laughing sometimes.

Jiyoung Song: I had been looking into service projects to get more involved with the Tufts community, and while I struggled to find something that fit my schedule, Mentor Collective sounded like the perfect volunteer opportunity. I signed up without hesitation.

Wanjin Wu: I like Jiyoung’s personality and appreciate her help. Jiyoung made me feel less anxious and easier about my coming graduate life. Jiyoung has always been in touch with me. Since our first video chat when she learned I hadn’t found a place to stay before school began, she kept asking me whether I had found one and provided a list of websites to book short-term living. I was very touched.

Jiyoung Song: My biggest takeaway is that relationships require initiative. Making new friends takes a lot of time for me, and I am quite introverted, not actively seeking out relationships. However, because of my role as mentor, I have been taking the initiative in building a relationship with Wanjin. I think that human connections are really rewarding and worth the effort of taking the initiative.

The Mentor Collective is part of Tufts’ effort to ensure that students of all backgrounds feel engaged, integrated, and at home in the Tufts community. If you want to get involved as a mentor or think you could benefit from a little extra support, email Dean Robert Mack today.