By Tetiana Kulbaka
We all remember our first overwhelming college days
when everybody is new, a bit lost and unguided. And while these feelings are an
integral part of the overall college experience in RIT Croatia we know how to
make the introductory college phase less stressful and more memorable. We are
proudly empowering our students to take initiative, change things for better,
ensure and maintain the overall positive college environment. Let us introduce
the Peer Mentoring Program that
combines all of the above mentioned activities.
Mentoring Program consists of two core components: social integration as
well as assistance in terms of successful academic standing. Through this
program, the peer guides are helping new students in accelerating their social
integration within the college society. The mentors are encouraging their
mentees to stay open and take an active part in all social events organized by
In addition, within the frames of the Peer Mentoring Program the mentees have
a great opportunity to reveal the secret recipes of becoming successful
students. However, we have to define the limits so that prevent students from
accidentally committing acts of academic dishonesty. The Peer Mentoring Program is all about protecting each other`s
reputation and respecting the confidentiality as the relationships we aim to
build through this Program are of a voluntary, trust-based nature. That is why
our peer guides are provided with the strict guidelines in this regard: the
peer guides are simply assisting their mentees in developing necessary study
habits by sharing their experiences, resource discovery techniques, and study
With this brief introduction let`s find out about the
experiences of two students who were paired as a mentor and a mentee, and thus
are ready to share their perspectives. Sabina Wallace from California is a
sophomore year student at the HTM program in Dubrovnik and was peer mentored by
Noemi Markić from Tar in Istria, Croatia, who is studying at the same program
but is already at her junior year.
Q: What was your initial reaction to having a peer mentor assigned to you in your first semester at RIT Croatia and what were your expectations from it?
Sabina: I previously
didn't know about RIT's peer mentor program so it was a pleasant surprise. I
didn't know what my role would be as a mentee, but I soon learned it was an
opportunity for me to get to know more about RIT Croatia in a relaxed and
Q: Why did you apply to be a peer mentor? How does this program fit you're your personal/professional goals?
Noemi: I applied
because I saw a great opportunity to improve my communication skills and with
it become more open to new challenges.
Q: Describe a typical meeting with your peer mentor?
Sabina: A meeting with Noemi consisted of getting to know each other and being able to freely ask questions about classes, professors, and student life in general.
Noemi: We would
usually meet for a coffee and chat about college life as well as any random
topics that helped us to get to know each other better.
Q: What do you consider to be the biggest advantage of having a peer mentor and how much did it help to have one upon coming to study in Dubrovnik?
Sabina: The biggest
advantage of having a peer mentor is getting a student's perspective on life at
RIT. Talking to my peer mentor gave me useful insight into what to expect
academically and socially. Having a peer mentor was extremely helpful. Studying
in a new city or country can be really overwhelming and it was nice to have
someone who is already familiar with the city and could help me find my way
Q: What are the skills necessary to have to be a good peer mentor?
Noemi: To become a
successful peer mentor one should know how to listen actively and engagingly,
meaning that one knows how to show respect, listens with empathy and
understanding. Peer Mentoring is also about building non-judgmental relations
that require peer mentor to embrace any differences that might exist be it the
nationality or age of the mentee. We are all different but that is what makes
our college so unique.
Q: Tell us about the relationship-building process that you've had with your mentee?
Noemi: At our first
meeting, we talked mostly about ourselves. We tried to define the areas of our
interests that might overlap and thus will help to effectively build our
Q: Did you continue to socialize with your mentor even after the official peer mentoring program was done?
Sabina: My peer
mentor gave me her number so I could contact her if I had any questions or
needed anything. I would see my peer mentor around college and say hello and it
felt really nice to see a familiar face around campus when everything felt so
Q: What you say that the peer mentoring program is beneficial to freshmen students and if so why?
Sabina: The peer
mentoring program is extremely beneficial. Whether you are from Dubrovnik or
somewhere else, it is helpful to have someone to talk to, confide in, and
prepare you for what to expect for the next 4 years. I would recommend freshman
students to keep in contact with their mentors and feel free to ask any
questions they might have about life at RIT.
Q: What are common misunderstandings over what is the role of a peer mentor?
Mentoring is not about being someone`s ghostwriter, psychologist or a gossip
buddy. However, I think our roles are clearly defined from the beginning, so
the possibility that these misunderstandings occur is minimum.
Q: Would you recommend other students to apply for the peer mentoring program and if so, why?
Noemi: I do recommended, most definitely! It is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, as well as discover something new about yourself, overcome some personal challenges and in the long run develop necessary professional skills.
In RIT Croatia we truly believe that mentoring partnership is where the success of our students begins and our Peer Mentoring Program is a vivid proof. The best way to grow personally is to help others grow. Come, join us and become the reason for one`s success!
Croatian language is a challenging language to learn. For international students coming to Croatia to pursue their undergraduate degree, living and studying in a country where you are unfamiliar with the native language can be challenging and frustrating at times. Yet at RIT Croatia, the International Student Club (ISC) run by Emily Arnold, a fourth-year student, provides students the opportunity to learn and better understand the Croatian language.
At RIT Croatia, we are all committed to preparing our students for careers of their choice; and we start preparing them from Day 1! Experiential learning and applying everything you learn in classroom in real-life situations is embedded in the RIT Croatia student experience in all programs.
Choosing the right university and program of study are some of the most important decisions young people ever make, but they are also among the most difficult. Lack of information, pressure from parents or friends, financial concerns, and simple confusion can be overwhelming for young people and their families making this important life decision. But there is help out there! RIT Croatia professors, students and enrollment specialists offer guidance and suggestions to help make sure the college you choose is right for you.
Choosing a university isn’t easy. So it isn’t surprising that sometimes students enroll in a program that they expect will be interesting and useful, but later discover they made the wrong choice. Sometimes they find out that the subjects they are studying are not for them, or the relationships with professors and learning atmosphere simply isn’t motivating. That’s when transferring to RIT Croatia can be a great solution, and the start of a whole new chapter in their lives.