The Kuwait Mentoring Program (KMP) launched in the Fall of 2019 and was designed by the International and Global Health Office (IGHO) to support the Faculty of Medicine’s first international students enrolled in the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) program, as well as encourage Kuwaiti students enrolled in the Faculty of Science to pursue a career in medicine by providing them with mentors throughout their academic career. In its first term, aside from the two UGME students, the program also included two students registered in the Faculty of Science, with three more students joining the BSc program in January 2020. For each student a team of peer mentors and a professor mentor have been recruited to provide advice and support at each step of the students’ academic journey at the University of Ottawa.
While Kuwaiti students enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine take part in mentoring programs and services provided by the Student Affairs Office of the Faculty, the IGHO developed a specialized program with peer mentors from main campus, and from the Faculty of Medicine (TMM, UGME, and Graduate Studies programs) for the students at the Faculty of Science.
Activities included an orientation session for mentors and mentees to meet, followed by one-on-one mentoring sessions throughout the term, as well as self-reflection modules completed on the Brightspace platform, and the first edition of the Faculty of Medicine’s KMP Newsletter created by our MD Mentors.
In mid-January 2020, once the three new students joined the Faculty of Science, an Official Welcome and cake cutting ceremony was held. The Vice Dean UGME, Dr. Melissa Forgie, IGHO Director, Dr. Mark Walker, and the University of Ottawa’s Chief Internationalization Officer, Dr. Adel El Zaim welcomed the students, mentors and special guests from the Kuwait Cultural office of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Canada.
When asked about the program, participants shared the following views:
Faculty of Science Student: “The best effective part is having great mentors …which helps alot throughout the course by keeping in touch, giving useful advice and preparing me both mentally and academically for the exams.”
UGME Student: “Everything prepared and done by the Kuwait Mentoring Program was really appreciated and most effective.”
TMM Mentor: “I feel that the KMP program had great reminders for students to join several activities. I also felt that it empowered students and boosted their confidence as they transitioned to a university life by allowing new students to meet with student mentors who are already in the programs that KMP was designated for.”
Although, the coronavirus made for very challenging conditions for everyone, mentors moved their mentoring sessions online and were able to provide much needed support to their mentees during the pandemic, through final exams, and up until the end of the spring term. Many of the Kuwaiti students are going home for the summer and looking forward to returning to their classes and their mentors in the fall, when we hope to also welcome our next cohort to the Kuwait Mentoring Program.
Official Welcome Reception – January 2020