Peer Guide Program Volunteer Opportunities

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Position Description 2021-2022

Position:

100 Peer Guide positions available

Objective:

To assist newly arrived international students in their orientation and adjustment to the Canadian culture and the university community.

Time Commitment:

5 hours/week on average; heavier time demands during Orientation Week and the month of September (approximately 10 hours/week).

The program runs from the end of August (Orientation Week) to December, with the opportunity to continue in the winter and summer terms.

Training:

Approximately 3.5 days (see below for details). Volunteers must attend all of the training dates.
Team meetings: Weekly 1 hour team meetings during the fall term.


Responsibilities:

  1. Welcome and assist new international (Undergraduate and Graduate) and exchange students in their adjustment, orientation and transition to Western and the Canadian way of life.
  2. Actively participate in and assist with International Student Orientation Events.
  3. Act as a guide, resource person and peer support to a group of 6 - 8 international students. (Peer Guides in a graduate program will be matched with 3 - 4 international students.)
  4. Meet and maintain regular contact (i.e., at least once a week in September) with individuals in your peer group to ensure they are transitioning well and to facilitate connection and belonging.
  5. Facilitate access to programs, services and resources by providing international peers with information on campus and city resources, student activities, services, etc. Encourage use of services and involvement in activities.
  6. Attend events organized for all groups. (There are several events throughout September and 2 - 4 events per month for the remainder of the term.)
  7. Organize regular monthly activities/meetings with your own peers on an individual basis and as a group.
  8. Assist in staffing the International and Exchange Student Centre "Help Desk" during the allocated Peer Drop-In hours (1 hour/week). This entails welcoming and assisting international students who visit the centre. (To be confirmed once decisions have been made regarding the Fall term at Western)
  9. Attend training, staff meetings and midterm progress review.
  10. Discuss any questions, difficulties or concerns with your supervisor and/or Team Leader.
  11. Complete Western's Online Health and Safety training courses (see below for details).
  12. Complete and submit Peer Guide log forms on a weekly basis and a year-end program evaluation.

*Note: This position may be 100% online, dependent on the decision by Western University regarding the format of the Fall term.


Desired Qualifications:

We are looking for responsible, mature individuals who can demonstrate the following:

  • Strong communication, interpersonal and leadership skills
  • Empathy and helping skills
  • Cross-cultural awareness, understanding and sensitivity
  • Flexibility, open-mindedness and cultural curiosity
  • Experience in living, studying or working in a second culture and in the adjustment process
  • Keen interest in enhancing personal intercultural expertise
  • Demonstrated ability to manage academic workload (good academic standing)
  • Good time management skills
  • Initiative, enthusiasm and dependability
  • Willingness to devote considerable time
  • Familiarity with the Western and London community and available resources
  • Current student at Western University for the 2021-2022 academic year
    • Graduate students are encouraged to apply!

Benefits:

  • Involvement in internationalization at Western
  • Contribute to building a caring community and enhancing intercultural understanding at Western
  • Skill development/enhancement; experience for future employment or professional studies
  • Personal satisfaction of making a positive impact on international students' Western experience and of using your skills, past experience and concern for people by helping other students
  • A great learning experience - enhance your global perspectives at Western through cross-cultural exchange!
  • An opportunity to develop international connections: friendships with international students and other Peer Guides
  • Recognition through the Co-Curricular Record and the Global and Intercultural Engagement Honour
  • Letter of recommendation available upon request

Mandatory Training:

Volunteers must be able to attend all training sessions. All trainings sessions will take place online via Zoom. 

  • Peer Guide Spring Training (tentative dates) - Saturday, May 8, 2021
  • Peer Guide Fall Training – dates to be confirmed
  • Required online training through Human Resources at Western for all volunteers, including WHIMIS, Work Safely at Western, Safe Campus Community and Accessibility in Service (Details to be announced at the Spring Training). Online training modules to be completed during the summer months.

How to Apply:

Application Deadline EXTENDED for the 2021-2022: Sunday, March 7th at 11:59pm (EST)

 

Application for NEW Peer Guides

(Never volunteered as a Peer Guide)

Apply

Application for RETURNING Peer Guides

(Previously volunteered as a Peer Guide)

Apply

 

Note: Peer Guide interviews will be scheduled from February 28 to April 16, 2021. Due to the large number of applications received, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Candidates selected for an interview will be contacted by telephone or email by Friday, March 26, 2021 to schedule an interview. Final selections will be based on applications and interviews.

Questions? Contact us at 519-661-2111 ext. 89309 or send an email to iesc@uwo.ca for further information.

 

Peer Guides Share their Experience

“The Peer Guide program creates a wonderful community of volunteers that work together to facilitate the difficult transition international students face when joining Western. I have had many great experiences in the Peer Guide Program over the past few years, even when the program went fully virtual. Through my participation in the program, I was able to develop my helping and communication skills as I worked with other Peer Guides to make international graduate and undergraduate students feel welcome at Western and in London.” 
Faraj H., PhD in Neuroscience

"The Peer Guide Program was a valuable experience. I was able to meet Western students from around the world and make strong connections with them. I had the opportunity to gain cross-cultural knowledge and develop my communication and listening skills. Being online allowed me to use new digital platforms and become more experienced with them.  Most of all, I had the chance to help a fellow student adjust to life in Canada and contribute to the Western community.  I would recommend this program to all FIMS students who are looking to expand their communication skills and global network!"
Maya D., Media Information and Technoculture

"It's been an amazing journey for me as an international student myself to be able to share my own experience with my peers in the same shoes. It's like a family ,everyone in the team has been so friendly and helpful. Definitely check it out if you are looking for a warm community at Western!"
Vivian C.

"Being an International Peer Guide has been an amazing experience. It has allowed me to connect with students from all over the world, providing friendship and support through the challenges of transitioning that I myself faced as an international student. It has also allowed me to create lasting connections and awesome memories with my peer guide team."
Andaiye B., Honours Specialization in Actuarial Science

"Volunteering as a Peer Guide during my Ph.D. studies was the best experience ever! I learned a lot about Canadian culture, how to be a better listener and a good support for our newly arrived international students. This is a great volunteering experience to be part of!"
Sandra L.Z., PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering