Mentorship Program

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Mission Statement

The First-Year Mentor Program aims to create a strong and healthy support network for international freshmen coming into MIT in order to provide the incoming class with the knowledge and resources to deal with the adjustment to American culture, life at MIT, academics, and issues specific to international students. Together, upperclassmen mentors and freshmen mentees can raise awareness of issues that international students face at MIT.

The International Students Association (ISA) is launching a mentorship program, where new students will be matched up with upperclassmen to get peer support. Each mentor will have 3-4 students, whom s/he will take out for dinner/lunch/coffee twice a term. The purpose is to let new students know that there is someone who can support them or is willing to help.

Most mentors are leaders from International Orientation, held at the beginning of the semester. We saw the benefit of getting their help as most of the new students know the mentors already.

The ISA decided to start this program because we felt that internationals students have to go through a huge change when starting MIT, and there needs to be a strong support system.MIT has amazing international upperclassmen that have already been through this big transition, and we feel that incoming freshman can really gain a lot by sharing experiences and asking questions.

Mentees are all international freshman from the Class of 2018. We are aware that some students will not be interested in the project, and will not force them to participate. We will choose 2 freshmen liaisons, who are from the new class and will be responsible for being in touch with us to give us feedback about the program. We are hoping that they will also support us by encouraging their fellow students to participate in the program.

How does the program work?

Mentors are required to meet with their mentees at individual meetings twice each semester. Costs for these meetings will be reimbursed by the ISA up to $7 per person. The ISA will also fund two group meetings each semester. These are activities that mentors and mentees can choose to attend and may include things such as a group trip to the movies or and ice-skating get together.

Additionally there will also be a kick-off event at the beginning of each scholastic school year where the mentors and mentees will have their first official meeting and a closing event at the end of the scholastic school year. Mentors will also be required to attend one training session each semester so that they may receive some information as to how they can be good mentors. In order to facilitate attendance two training sessions will be held each semester so that mentors have a choice of which they will attend. If you are a mentor or mentee and have suggestions as to what activities you would like to have at training sessions, group outings, or the kick-off and closing events please feel free to email the Mentorship Program Coordinators, Brindha Kanniah or Lara Timbo.

For more information about the events please refer to the ISA calendar.


If you have any questions please contact one of our Mentorship Program Coordinators or our exec mailing list:

Brindha Kanniah (

Lara Timbo (

ISA exec (