Students helping students

April 30, 2024 - 4 min read

Sometimes when you are a student, all you want is to talk with someone who understands your situation. At Deakin, there are formal and informal opportunities for this kind of support. From peer mentoring programs to student clubs, Deakin students are helping one another.

Residential leaders

One of the challenges of moving internationally to study is being away from home.  If you live in Deakin’s on-campus accommodation, you will be welcomed by student Residential Leaders (RLs). When Papa moved from Nigeria to Geelong to study architecture at Deakin, he lived in residence for his first year. In his second year as a student, he became a leader. ‘A major part of my responsibilities as an RL was to provide transitional support and act as the first point of contact for students living at Deakin​.’

I want to make it a smooth, enjoyable, safe and welcoming environment for everyone – Sakshi

Sakshi is a biomedical science student from India. She became a Residential Leader because she wanted to use her experience to help students transition to living in Australia. ‘Being a Residential Leader, I want to make it a smooth, enjoyable, safe and welcoming environment for everyone.’ Sakshi’s advice for people who are worried about making the big move is ‘you will be surrounded by awesome people so don’t stress.’

Academic mentoring and support

Deakin’s peer mentoring programs have a long history of providing support. ‘I helped the health faculty to establish their Peer Mentor Program,’ says nursing graduate Yitong of her experience at Deakin more than a decade ago. ‘As the first peer mentor of the program, I helped over 20 International students to enjoy their campus life in the University and to achieve study-life balance.’

Shriya received support in the business and law Peer Mentor Program during her studies. ‘My mentor encouraged me to reach my goals,’ she tells us. ‘The knowledge he shared with me was invaluable and after the program I felt very confident in defining my career goals.’

While mentorship programs help new students succeed, they are also important for the volunteers. According to Yitong ‘this experience gave me the opportunity to improve my leadership and communication skills,’ she says.

Muhammad was the first president of the Deakin Marketing Club

Yitong was a peer mentor while studying at Deakin

Mentoring can also lead to other opportunities. Christian, from Zimbabwe, says ‘I gave my time and efforts to the volunteer program and the payback was certainly one I desired. I made valuable friends and connections that I will have for life.’ But, he says, ‘most importantly, it opened doors for more opportunities. A paid student mentor role came, I applied for it and became a Drop-In Station Mentor.’

For students who need help with study skills, Deakin’s Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) is another excellent opportunity. In PASS, upper year students meet with newer students in their course to offer assistance with study skills, writing, research and maths.

Student clubs and associations

The Deakin University Student Association (DUSA) includes many student-led clubs where you can meet people with similar interests and backgrounds.

Muhammad, a marketing student from Pakistan, co-founded the Delta Marketing Club Deakin (DMCD) and became its first president. ‘This was important to me,’ he tells us, ‘I understand that international students who are coming here for the first time may not have the same connections or know much about the Australian workplace.’

Studying at Deakin in Geelong, Khahn felt that Vietnamese students were having a difficult time meeting with one another. ‘I want people to be able to connect,’ she said about why she started the Vietnamese International Students of Geelong club. ‘They can hang out on weekends, enjoy activities together and support each other throughout their studies.’

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^^ 2022 Student Experience Survey, UA benchmark group Victorian universities.
# Australian Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2022 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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