We do expect all mentors to speak German (at least level B1) so that they are able to support their mentees when communicating with the local authorities. Therefore, there are currently no trainings in English planned and no materials or forms available in English. If you are interested in German courses to improve your German skills first, please contact our Language Centre.
You are enrolled at the University of Jena, speak German at a level of at least B1 and want to support foreign students at the beginning of their study programme in Jena or contribute to their rapid integration? Great! Within the scope of initial support, you assist international students, for example with enrolment, opening a bank account or registration at the University Computer Centre. You also accompany them to citizen services and the Studierendenwerk. Mentors of the International Office also help with structuring schedules and provide insights in the student life in Jena.
Why does the mentoring programme exist?
The academic success of foreign students is important to us. Because many of them will be living and studying in Germany for the first time, the University wants to provide them with the support that they need. If you have already studied in a foreign country yourself, you can appreciate the value of good support and introduction to the academic system, and life in a foreign university city during the first few weeks. Do you still remember the beginning of your studies abroad? Then you might know how exiting the first day can be, how difficult the first orientation was, and getting to know the local people. Our mentors support international students with the start of their study programme and are their first personal contact in Jena. This involves particularly going to the enrolment office (registration as well as picking up and submitting documents), registration office, bank, Studierendenwerk or to register at the University Computer Centre. In this aspect, it is important that you speak German well (at least at B1 level). As a general rule, you should also have good English skills since particularly students in the Masters programmes taught in English or also guest students come to Jena with very little or no knowledge of the German language. Mentors also help their mentees with structuring schedules and provide insights into student life in Jena. Ideally, newly arriving mentees are met by their mentors at the bus or train station and accompanied to the student residence or shared flat.
Who are the mentees who need a mentor?
The mentoring programme of the International Office is available to all new international students at the University, regardless of whether they are starting with a DSH course (German Language for Admission to Higher Education), are coming to Jena for guest studies or as a degree-seeking student. The students come from all over the world and (almost all of them) speak German or English. Participation in the mentoring programme is not obligatory for students.
What exactly are the mentor's responsibilities?
As a mentor, you are mainly a contact person for the new international students and help with their arrival in Jena, the start of their studies at the university, and their first steps in Jena.
Which steps should I take care of with the mentee?
- initial contact and keeping contact
- organisation of pick-up from the train or bus station
- going along for enrolment at the International Office
- going along to sign the contract at the hall of residence
- going along to the registration office (residents' registration office)
- going along to the bank (account opening, paying the semester fees)
- support with registration at the University Computer Centre
- help with structuring the schedule
- general support with acclimatisation and orientation in Jena, and at the university, as well as help with communication difficulties
- if necessary, going along to appointments at the Immigration Office later in the semester.
Which activities are optional?
- help with registering for courses and exams
What should I not do?
- take over the entire conversation at appointments
- be a guarantor for international students
- sign contracts or the like for international students
- pass on your log-in credentials
- make financial advances
Support as required
You are a contact person/mediator and you do not need to know everything, and you should also not take care of everything. The mentoring programme of the International Office is also about helping people to help themselves, since the students should also be able to find their way as independent students and adults after the initial support. Therefore, you can always refer the students to other existing support offers and persons in the respective departments (subject-specific course guidance, Orientation days, Erasmus coordinators etc.).
Communication and limits
Please also remember that communication is essential. For example, if you cannot meet your mentee personally at the train station, it is important that you communicate this to your mentee to avoid misunderstandings and false expectations, and to help him if necessary to still find his way to his room without any problems. Of course, the same applies to other areas. Be sure to tell them clearly and explicitly what you can and cannot do. You are a volunteer mentor not a professional and we are very grateful for this! If it gets to be too much for you because of other responsibilities, please contact us.
What do I get for my activities as a mentor?
The activities as a mentor are voluntary and are unpaid. All mentors are given an activity certificate at the end of the mentoring period. Moreover, you can receive further intercultural training free of charge, for which you obtain a certificate of participation. We will train you for the activities and you are given an updated mentor handbook as a guideline for each semester. You might be able to expand your foreign language skills. In any case, you will be acquainted with students from all around the world and thus gain intercultural experience. Quite often, you will also experience deep gratitude for your support. Who knows maybe you will re-discover Jena and the University in this way, and even make friends for life!
How does REGISTRATION work and what happens afterwards?
You register online here de. Please be sure to indicate when you will be in Jena (with the exact day if possible!). If something should change at short notice, feel free to write us an e-mail at any time.
As soon as we have processed your registration, you will be sent a welcome email with more information to confirm your registration (please take into consideration that that might take a couple of days). In this email, you will also be informed about upcoming dates for training to prepare you for your activities as a mentor. Please participate in one of the offered training courses. We will send you a registration link for the training courses by e-mail.
As of (the end of) August or the end of February until the beginning of the next lecture period, we will try to find a mentor for each new international student. For this, the mentee's date of arrival and your own availability at this time are the most important criteria. Only then can we try to assign you suitably according to the department and language skills. If this should not be possible, we hope that you will understand. If you are studying medicine or law, we will always only assign you to students from your department. When we have found a mentor for each mentee, we will send you both a so-called "matching email" with the contact data.
Is there any preparation, a training, a handbook?
All mentors participate in the mentor's training course. You may (but do not have to) participate in several training courses, since the dates and procedures can change each semester. The training courses also serve mentors to get to know each other. In addition, experienced mentors can share their knowledge with new mentors. The current dates can be found at the bottom of this page.
In the mentor handbook (also available as an e-paperExternal link), you will find all the information you need for your activities. This guideline is updated each semester. In the handbook, you will also find important contact persons, addresses, and office hours. The check list right at the front is a particularly good aid since all of the steps are shown in the correct sequence. You can obtain the handbook in printed form during the mentor training course or during office hours at our office. Apart from that, you can also download it as an e-paper later and as a PDF file from the website. We update the handbook each February and August and are grateful for your suggestions for improvement.
Mentors who have been active for one or several semesters and have lots of practical experience with mentoring often do not participate in the training course every semester and also do not read the whole mentor handbook every semester. This is okay. Especially for them, but also for all other active mentors for better clarity, we send out a newsletter in March and September of each year. It contains the new features or changes (if necessary, also once more from the previous semester), as well as all relevant dates for the upcoming semester.
Intercultural training courses
The International Office organizes intercultural training courses which are open to all students at the University, but are particularly geared towards internationally mobile students and mentors. The training courses take place each year in April/May and in October/November. You will receive an invitation in due time.
How many mentees are supervised by each mentor?
We generally assign two mentees per semester to each mentor. Depending on the number of active mentors and the arriving international students, this number can vary from one to four. There was even one summer semester when we had to put off mentors for the next winter because we had more active mentors than international students who wanted mentoring. Ultimately, you must decide for yourself how much time you have for mentoring and how many mentees you think you can support. You can inform us each semester of the maximum number you can handle.
How much time do I need? When do I have to be there?
In the winter semester, the mentors provide support for the period between the last week of September and one week after the beginning of the lecture period, and in the summer semester, for approx. three weeks around the beginning of lectures. You can expect to spend about 10 to 20 hours per mentee. However, the workload can vary widely. It starts with how many questions your mentee may have, possibly even before he arrives, or whether he is already well prepared for his stay in Jena and was able to find answers to most of his questions before contacting you. While some mentees take care of much of their business alone or were able to get a room through the Studierendenwerk without any problem, other international students have problems with finding a room, opening a bank account or other difficulties, and are then very appreciative of your support. Some things can also be taken care of as a group if you have several mentees, so that this might allow you to save time.
When and where does the enrolment of foreign students take place?
The enrolment of foreign students takes place at the International Office in special service rooms of the University Main Building. Here, you will find the rooms and exact datesExternal link for enrolment in the respective upcoming semester.
In the winter semester, enrolment takes place during the three weeks before the beginning of the lecture period whereas in the summer semester two weeks before the beginning of lectures. All of the required documents for enrolment must be submitted one week after the beginning of the lecture period at the latest! You should offer help with the following steps.
Appointments at the bank, registration office or health insurance can usually be arranged before your mentee arrives, this saves time later.
What should I do if I have questions?
Please first have a look in your Mentor Handbook. You can already find lots of information there.
Have you already used the online Enrolment GuideExternal link together with your mentee? There you can find precise instructions on what needs to be done and considered regarding enrolment.
If you have other questions or unexpected problems, you are welcome to write us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then try to answer you as fast as possible. Of course, you can also call us (+49 (0)3641/ 9 31148) or visit us during our office hours in the "Haus auf der Mauer"External link.
Moreover, you can write us on Facebook, either directly to the "IB Mentorenprogramm - FSU Jena" or ask other mentors or us via our Facebook group External link.
During the enrolment period, the Info-Café is also offered at the "Haus auf der Mauer", which is organised by international students who have already been in Jena for a while. The office of the mentoring programme is usually occupied during the entire opening hours of the Info-Café and you are welcome to come by if you were not able to find answers to your questions at the Info-Café or if you have capacities to support additional mentees. You should also talk to us if you have difficulties with your mentees.
Please note: while the mentoring programme is coordinated from the International Centre "Haus auf der Mauer", enrolment itself takes place only on the premises of the University Main Building (Fürstengraben 1)! The enrolment room plan can be found on the back of the current mentor handbook.
My mentee is not answering. What can I do?
Please try to make contact at least two times per e-mail. If you still have not received any answer after one week or if you get an error message, and you do not have any e-mails in your spam folder, please send an e-mail with all of the information to: email@example.com. We will check what the problem may be and contact you again afterwards.
If your mentee is already in Jena or in Germany, please consider that he may not yet have access to the Internet, or at least not at all times, and that he may not be able to read your message, particularly in the first few days after arrival. This is especially true for students from non-EU countries. To avoid misunderstandings at this point, it is recommended to have good communication before your mentee arrives and needs to be picked up. Then you can already arrange the best way to communicate in the days following his arrival.
My mentee is not coming to Jena after all. Who should I inform?
Please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and inform us of this. We will then pass on the information.
We would be happy if you still want to be available as a mentor.
I will not be in Jena when my mentee is scheduled to arrive. Who is going to take care of him?
Sometimes an unexpected appointment can come up. Or your mentee receives his visa later than expected and must delay his planned arrival. If you therefore cannot be in Jena for the planned date of arrival, please be sure to inform your mentee and give him instructions by e-mail, e.g. on how to get to the student residence. In some cases, it may help to recommend taking a taxi and to have enough cash for this. Otherwise, please send precise and accurate directions with links for the bus or tram schedules, instructions for the required tickets etc.
If you have the impression that picking up in person is required or if you already agreed to be there but have now been held up, you can try to ask a friend or acquaintance to pick him up for you. Some mentees also travel and arrive as a groupask your mentee if another mentor may take him along? Moreover, you can try to find other mentors who could pick up your mentee via our Facebook groupExternal link.
If all of this does not work, please inform us as soon as possible by e-mail. We will then try to find another mentor who can pick up the international student or even take over the entire mentoring. However, please consider that at this time, the other mentors will also be quite busy. Even if we succeed in assigning the mentee to another mentor, this can possibly cause confusion.
You should definitely be in Jena shortly after their arrival and be able to meet themotherwise you will not be able to fulfil your role as a mentor reasonably. Please inform us immediately if your circumstances should change at short noticeideally, always before you have been assigned to mentees.
What should I do if I do not have time for mentoring as planned?
If your circumstances should change (study programme, place of study, schedule, winning the lottery) and this might affect your participation in the programme, please inform us of this promptly. Your availability as a mentor for the time around enrolment is important to us. If, for example, you no longer have time due to a recently confirmed internship or an unexpected illness or if you are not available for a longer period of time due to a stay abroad or the end of your studies, you should inform us of this. Thus, we can avoid having to assign mentees multiple times and making them insecure.
A change in the study programme is also of interest to us, as we tryas long as the schedules fitto assign you to mentees from the same or at least a similar department.
I am not able to answer my mentee's subject-specific questions. Where can I get help?
It is often the case that your mentees study different subjects than you. You must then tell your mentees that you are not responsible for academic counselling and are not able to offer this kind of help (in most cases), in order to prevent false expectations and conflicts. However, you can refer your mentees to various Universitys services. In doing so, the type of study programme of your mentee is significant:
Guest students can be referred to the Erasmus coordinator or the subject-specific course guidance for each study programme.
Degree-seeking students can also be referred to the subject-specific course guidance. Some questions can also already be answered during the Orientation Days. The subject-specific student representative committees (Fachschaft) can also often provide assistance. Furthermore, the International Office for degree-seeking students also offers the option of subject-specific mentoring by students and lecturers from their own study programme. If you are interested in this, please read more hereExternal link.
DSH course participants should contact Ms Cornelia DwarsExternal link.
For all fields of study, it can also be worthwhile to check if there is a group with the students of University of Jena from the corresponding department on Facebook who may be able to provide advice.
When will I receive an activity certificate?
You will receive an activity certificate by e-mail after completion of your activities in May or in November. If you terminate your involvement as a mentor after several semesters, we are happy to issue a "collective certificate" upon request. We can also send the certificate in English upon request.
Is it possible to acknowledge the activity as a mentor within the Career Planning Certificate Programme “ZertiKap”?
Yes, supporting at least one student as part of the initial mentoring is a compulsory component of the module "My Voluntary Activities" as part of the "Career Planning Certificate Programme" (ZertiKap)External link. If you support incoming students for at least two semesters in the initial mentoring programme, you can even cover the complete module with the certificate we will issue as proof of this support. Please note, however, that due to the high number of new students at the beginning of the winter semester, we usually assign two mentees to each mentor.
Do I have to sign up again if I want to be a mentor again in the following semester?
No. In due course, generally towards the end of a semester, we will send you an e-mail asking you whether you want to be a mentor again in the upcoming semester. If you would like to do so, simply let us know with a short e-mail. If something should change spontaneously, so that you cannot mentor international students or only to a limited extent, please also inform us as soon as possible in a short e-mail. If you can no longer participate or possibly only want to/have to skip one semester, please also inform us about it by e-mail.
How can I support foreign students even after the arrival phase?
Simply start by maintaining regular contact with your mentees. Especially for foreign students, unfortunately, there are few opportunities to make contact and build long-term relationships with "local" students or students who have already been living in Jena for a longer period. Staying in contact with them can therefore already be a big step towards integration and against isolation. Particularly appointments at the Immigration Office often take place later during the course of the semester and not right at the beginningthere also, your support for filling in forms and going along to appointments is explicitly welcome.
The International Office is also happy to receive registrations for subject-specific mentoring for degree-seeking studentsExternal link which is designed for the longer term.
Registration for the buddy programme for refugee guest students takes place by e-mail at email@example.com. As a buddy, you always participate, if you have time, in the events of the support programme together with the refugees (see www.uni-jena.de/fluechtlinge), e.g. excursions, workshops or the "Intercultural Café" that takes place every month at the "Haus auf der Mauer".
Another option is to get involved in one of the student groups from Int.RoExternal link or in the Erasmus Student Network, as an event sponsor at the Welcome DaysExternal link of the International Office or the International Days of the Int.Ro.
The office hours of the coordination office can be found on the website of the Team International Students.