Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
Undergraduates students mentoring students
Evridiki Zachopoulou, Chistos Bialas, Georgia Dimitrelli, Michalis Vitoulis, Theodoros Kosmanis and Alexandra Pavloudi
The economic crisis that has greatly affected Greece in recent years reduced the ability of many families and students themselves to cope with the financial cost of their studies. Consequently, a fairly large number of students in the Alexander campus of International Hellenic University (Greece) are experiencing delays, interruption, or even abandonment of their studies due to financial difficulties. This situation influences many students from low socio-economic background, affected by unemployed, special needs or serious health problems, diversity cultural backgrounds, single parents’ status etc. The main goal of the project UMBRELLA was to mitigate various factors that potentially obstruct the attendance, and the academic success of each student by training their fellow students to become mentors” (the project partially funded by EU – Operational Programme – Human Resources Development, Education & Lifelong Learning). Support was offered at three levels: emotional-psychological, academic and practical level. Mentors were trained by professors and were all volunteers. This paper presents the 13 i-mentors’ views of the programme; their reasons for becoming i-mentors, their overall impression and their evaluation of the programme were the main themes of discussion during a semi-structured interview. The majority of participants evaluated positively the collaboration and communication with the beneficiaries and professors. Most i-mentors evaluated participation in UMBRELLA as a great experience as they learned new things from their participation in the programme, but most importantly, they had the moral satisfaction of supporting their peers who are at risk and vulnerable.
keywords: Higher education, mentors, support programme.