MENTORING PROGRAM FOR THE INTEGRATION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS INTO HIGHER EDUCATION
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:In an increasingly global world, many students seek opportunities to study abroad. When attending an institution different from their own in a new geographical and cultural context, these students also have to overcome difficulties associated with that context and the multiple dimensions that the environment of each higher education institution involves.
The main objective of this article is to evaluate the perceptions of international students about a program to support their reception and integration, developed and implemented by a Portuguese higher education institution, covering various dimensions of the Institution and the context in which the Institution is located, namely, degree of satisfaction with the way the Institution received them, the interaction with colleagues, technological, scientific and pedagogical processes, and with the city where the Institution is located.
Among the characteristics of the program to support the reception and integration of international students, a set of pre-scheduled recreational, pedagogical and scientific activities, with a duration of one week, accompanied by mentors and professors of the Institution, stand out.
The aforementioned activities were developed in the 2nd semester of the 2021/2022 academic year with the participation of 149 international students. Of these students, 59 respond to an online questionnaire which constitutes the sample of this study. This study is essentially quantitative, assuming in some situations characteristics close to qualitative approaches. From the features of the sample, it is highlighted that they are students whose ages range from 20 to 28 years old, with an average of 23 years old, belonging to 12 countries, with the majority of students from Brazil (75%). From the results obtained, it is highlighted that more than 80% of the students expressed being satisfied or very satisfied with the way they were received by the Institution, with the facilities, with the meals in the canteen, with the school they attend, with the course they attend and with the security of the city. On the other hand, these are aspects that need improvement, as less than 50% of the students expressed their satisfaction with the Institution's IT platforms, accommodation and transport in the city.
This study is important for the Institution and for other institutions that receive international students. Knowing the degree of students' satisfaction with their integration is a reasoned way to identify aspects to improve, maintain, exclude or integrate new activities that are important and of interest to students.
Keywords: Mentoring, Integration of International Students, Higher Education.