Culture shock can be a daunting thing to deal with, especially while trying to balance a full course load. The Global Monarch Club seeks to ease the anxieties international students face trying to assimilate into American culture.
The Global Monarch Club is a mentorship program that helps international students “navigate through a global society by learning about various cultures,” according to its website.
Operating through the Office of Intercultural Relations, the GMC is one of three programs within the OIR that helps students bridge the cultural gap between American and international students.
Sara Nobles, president of the GMC, said “mentorship” is just a technical term. “It’s more of a friendship program,” Nobles said. “There’s so much going on. They [international students] have questions, and they don’t know who to go to, so it’s good when you have a friend.”
The club was formerly known as “Monarch Mentors,” but got a face-lift when Assistant Director Rachawan “Aey” Wongtrirat joined the team. Shoaib Quader, an international student from India, is the graduate assistant of international initiative for the GMC and said students now have more control and leadership opportunities under the new platform.
Speaking from experience as a mentee, Shoaib said “It was good to have a person be there to be your friend and help you adjust. I personally really benefited and that’s why I thought I would return the favor as a mentor.”
He said it’s always good to know people from other cultures. Involvement with the GMC isn’t beneficial solely to international students. While the mentees struggle with their anxieties of living in a foreign place, the mentors are equally as nervous having to help bridge the cultural gap.
“Even if you’re not culturally inclined, you can learn as you go,” Nobles said. While students must spend a semester as a mentor before applying for a leadership position, Nobles said it’s a great way to get cultural exposure and literacy. “If you do like it, it’s a great way to get your leadership experience for later in life.”
The club is not exclusively for international students. While the majority of mentors are international studies majors, any students who want to learn more about other cultures can join.
“We want more people who want to be involved with the international community,” Nobles said. “We really want people besides international studies majors and students who have done study abroad, everyone who is interested in other cultures, in even the tiniest way, to get involved. If you can’t go to another country, we can bring it to you.”
There are about 50 mentors and about 100 mentees. The students come from diverse nationalities, like Indian, Chinese, Korean, and others. Mentees fill out a preference sheet, specifying what they would like in their mentors. They can make a request by sex, academic interests and majors, and if the mentor is an undergraduate or graduate student.
Executive members of the Global Monarch Club encourage anyone expressing an interest in becoming involved with an organization with members of diverse cultural backgrounds to contact them.
Sara Nobles: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shoaib Quader: email@example.com
By: Derek Page