The application period for Stipendium Hungaricum Mentor Network has started and it is time to consider becoming a Mentor for the academic year of 2021/2022.
Mentors from SH Mentor Network assist freshmen foreign students coming to Hungary with Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme. The Mentors’ tasks include keeping in touch with their mentees before and after arriving in Hungary and assisting their integration to academic life throughout the year. They also help discover the stunning sites, culture and people of Hungary.
The program opens up many opportunities for mentors which can be beneficial for various reasons. We asked a Mentor, Alexa Lomelí about her personal experiences in connection with SH Mentor Network and she told about the program and benefits that you can gain from mentorship.
Read the interview with Alexa if you are considering mentoring and learn more about the opportunity.
1. What was your biggest motivation to become a mentor?
When I arrived in Budapest and started university, I had no one to turn to for any kind of help or advice. There were times when I would have liked someone to have provided me help as getting to a new country is quite a challenge, especially when language can be a barrier and you don’t know anyone who can guide you. For this reason, I felt motivated to help others who were in the same circumstances in which I was. I decided that I wanted to provide my help in any way possible as I know that the beginning can be difficult. In addition, the motivation to meet new people from other countries, with other cultures and languages led me to apply for the mentoring program.
2. What are the main challenges of being a mentor? Why?
I consider that one of the biggest challenges of being a mentor is having the necessary information to correctly answer the doubts of your mentees, at least that was the biggest challenge during my time as a mentor. When I was chosen as a mentor and assigned my mentees, the Coronavirus situation was still at its peak, which spread longer than expected and led to many changes during the school year. The amount of information and its volatility created many doubts in the students, in addition to limiting the arrival of many of them to the country. On several occasions, the information was so changeable and so much that it was challenging to have the correct data to keep students informed about the situation, in addition to causing the limitation of our encounters, which was unfortunate since we did not really have the opportunity to create activities or meet more often.
3. What is your funniest memory of your mentorship? (You might have a story that makes you smile or just a fun fact and you would like to tell).
One of the moments that I remember with joy and that makes me smile is one of the activities that could be done with the mentees. Although not everyone had the opportunity to attend because they had not arrived in the country or for some other personal reasons, it was very gratifying to meet the students and see their excitement for getting to know the city and each other. It was very nice to take a long walk around the city, passing through the most popular and most representative points, as well as seeing how they enjoyed it. Another thing that fills me with joy is seeing how the students spend their time here and being able to see their progress during their first school year as I consider this one of the most important and the basis for your future stay in the country.
A fun moment was also when we did one of the activities with the other mentors. We took photos for the school calendar and it was very nice because everyone had to wear something representative of their country, we also enjoyed a good time together, getting to know each other, eating and taking photos.
4. What are your favourite places to visit in Hungary?
My favourite places to visit are undoubtedly those where I can appreciate what I have in front of me, moments in which I can reflect with myself and realize how far I have come and all the challenges and experiences that I have overcome. In Budapest, my favorite places are without a doubt Fisherman’s Bastion and Citadella, places that I visit very frequently both with my friends and alone. Sometimes I forget the place and the city in which I am because I have got used, after 3 years, to living here. However, every time I go to these places, I remember again how beautiful the city is, the opportunity I have to study in another country, meet new people and all the moments I have experienced.
Unfortunately, I have not taken the time to get out of Budapest a lot and get to know other places in Hungary, which I would really recommend and advise every foreign student here, as it is very important to travel and explore the country to get to know its culture, its people and its places.
5. How would you help someone who seemed dismissive of your mentorship?
I am aware that all people have different opinions and preferences towards the activities we want to experience or perform. If someone were disdainful of my mentoring, I would like to know the reasons for his/her opinion and why he disparages the realisation of it. The previously mentioned in the case of somebody’s opinion.
In case it was one of my mentees, I would like to understand the reason and why as well. I would definitely share my opinion and imply why it means something so great to me and the importance that it can have for certain students to have a person to help them in the beginning.
In addition, I would like to find, through communication and understanding, the balance and middle point in which to coincide, always respecting the feelings and thoughts of each person.
6. What are the skills and benefits you got from the mentor program?
Mentoring has allowed me to improve my interpersonal and communication skills. I have learned to listen attentively and actively in the way that has been possible to each of my mentees, I have also learned to try to give a positive or correct answer to the inquiries that have arisen.
Another of the skills that has allowed me to work and develop is leadership, as this experience has helped me learn how to guide and support others through constant communication and different perspectives.
The greatest benefit that it has brought me is that it has helped me to stay active and motivated because on various occasions, helping others makes me remember the experiences I have lived, how I have coped and where I am now, in addition to helping me prioritize new goals. In the same way I have expanded my social network, each of the connections with my mentees has great value and enrichment that will be prosperous for my future.
7. What is the most important lesson you have learnt during your mentorship?
As I mentioned before, active listening, which helped me learn to understand others better, and the acquisition of new perspectives when interacting with people from different parts of the world.
8. For whom would you recommend becoming a mentor?
For all those who enjoy social interactions, meeting new people, cultures and languages. As well as those who like to listen, support and share the knowledge of their own experiences.
You can apply for the mentoring position until 31 May 2021. If you are interested in the SH Mentor Network program and you would like to learn more about the expectations of the potential mentors and the application process visit the website hook.hu (https://hook.hu/hu/szolgaltatas/mentor-application-period-is-on).
We wish you a great application!