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Diary of a Mentor On Their Year Abroad!

In another exciting guest blog post, Jude, an Executive Mentor here at Debate Mate Online, discusses his experiences mentoring on our virtual programmes whilst studying abroad in a different time zone...

My name is Jude and I am an Executive Mentor here at Debate Mate Online, and I am a 4th Year student at the University of Manchester studying French and Linguistics (this will be important later!). Before taking up an administrative Role, I was a Mentor for around a year and a half, taking on clubs of all ages and experience. 

I wanted to recount my experience as a Mentor based out of the UK to provide some reassurance for our existing and new international mentors, and some top tips for keeping on top of the challenges! We just finished a successful recruitment cycle with mentors from all over the world including Ghana, Lithuania, and North America, and we are so excited to be expanding the Debate Mate Online network!

During my time whilst mentoring, I spent 5 months in Sherbrooke, QC, Canada and 5 months in Avignon, France studying abroad as part of my university studies (see it makes sense now!). This experience was amazing, and I gained very valuable life experience, language skills, and some amazing friends along the way. I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance! 

Before I left for my time in Canada, I had to consider whether or not I could continue mentoring whilst being abroad with a 5 hour time difference. Debate Mate assured me that they have mentors based all over the world based in Africa, Asia, and North America. They offered to accommodate a club allocation to a time that works best for me. When I arrived and adjusted to the jet lag (and the insane weather over there!) and the Club Allocations came out, I was able to mentor a group of some of the brightest students at 5:30 GMT, which was 12:30 in Canada! I could have my lunch and then jump on to deliver the content at a time that worked for me, the students, and even my co-mentor, who was based in the Netherlands so they were 6 hours behind me! 

Mentoring whilst abroad did present its challenges. As a Lead Mentor and a Senior Mentor, there are certain responsibilities you take on in order to facilitate the processes at Debate Mate, such as writing and proofreading the End-of-Term Reports. Making sure that I had all the deadlines correctly adjusted to my time and making sure that these deadlines were met took some getting used to, but it was easily achievable when I got used to it! 

After these experiences, I now want to share some top tips for our international mentors:

  • Do some research on when the clocks change in England. I got caught out by BST twice! Being sat on a call ready to deliver a session an hour early isn’t so fun, but turning up an hour late would be even worse. Make sure these dates are marked in your calendar! 
  • Stay in touch with your Co/Lead Mentor to arrange logging on early to discuss the lesson plans. Staying prepared will help avoid any time mishaps. 
  • Read the weekly emails! This will help you stay in touch and up to date with all the things going on with DMO. 

Whether you are travelling on holiday, staying abroad for university, or you live outside the UK permanently, I hope my experience and these tips help to advise and support you in working with Debate Mate! Feel free to reach out to [email protected] for any further advice!