Outside the classroom

A day in the life

Outside the classroom

Economics students in class

Mentor sounds a little technical. It’s really just to ease their transition. It’s not easy when you’ve never been here before.

Take part in our student mentorship program

Since signing an exchange partnership with two Chinese universities (University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing and the Shandong University of Finance (SUF) in Jinan, Shandong province), we've seen a huge increase in Chinese students studying economics at Dalhousie.

Anywhere from 60 to 120 Chinese students study economics here any given year. That's a lot when you consider we only have around 180 economics majors. To help these international students adjust to Canada, the Department of Economics has developed a mentorship program.

Canadian students majoring in economics volunteer to spend time with up to four Chinese students. Dalhousie's Centre for Learning and Teaching trains each volunteer how best to advise newcomers about Canadian culture.

Connections often happen naturally because students share the same academic focus. As they probably even take courses with one another, economics creates an automatic common ground. Shannon Peng, who administrates the exchange program, sees good friendships established by the mentors program every year.

Becoming a mentor provides valuable volunteer experience for Canadian students, too. If you are interested in Chinese culture and studying abroad in China, this is a chance for you to network and ask questions about one of the world's great cultures – and economies.

A student mentor's experience

Cale Kilyanek volunteered as a mentor in his fourth year. He really enjoyed introducing international students to Halifax.

"Mentor sounds a little technical. It’s really just to ease their transition," he explains. "It’s not easy when you’ve never been here before."

"With the China exchange program, our department is growing. The peer partnership program, along with Economics Society events, really helped integrate [international students] a lot more,” he says.

As an executive member of the Economics Society, Cale also helped set up a Friday afternoon social event in the department. Many international students attend. Last year's socials were "a booming success," he says. "The place was packed."