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ACCESS program shines at Ashland

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ACCESS program shines at Ashland

AU students together for the ACCESS program

AU students together for the ACCESS program

Luqman Tarouti

AU students together for the ACCESS program

Luqman Tarouti

Luqman Tarouti

AU students together for the ACCESS program

Luqman Tarouti

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Four years ago, former Ashland University student Abigail Melton had a vision to create a group of Native English speakers to help international students at the Ashland Center for English Studies make friends and have the opportunity to practice conversational English and embrace American culture.

Since 2015, the ACCESS Mentor Program had hundreds of students from China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Yemen, Pakistan, India and all around the world.

While students get the chance to have real conversations and first-hand experience with the American culture for an hour a week, the mentors also get to enjoy exploring other cultures.

Kristen Marshall, a business administration major, runs the Mentor program. Marshall was born in Ukraine and lived part of her life there.

”The reason why I joined the ACCESS is because I grew up abroad for ten years. I lived in Ukraine, and I went to public school, so I had to learn the language, and I know what it is like to be an outsider,” Marshall said. “I know what it is like to not know the language and I just can connect with them in a way normal Americans can not. I understand what it is like.”

Mentors meet with their mentee’s once week for one hour for some activities.

Yue Yan, or Kristui as the name she likes to be called within the US, Came to the US to study Master of Education. She joined the ACCESS program before starting her master degree to learn the English language, and while learning it, she signed up for the Mentor program.

“I joined the Mentor program because I wanted to practice my English and to know the American culture,” Yan said. “I would recommend it to other international students as it is a good way to practice English and make friends with American students.”

Marshall thinks students will like joining the program because they can mentor international students during their journey to learn the language and

Criminal justice and psychology double major, Hannah Outen, started mentoring fall 2017. She saw how her floor resident assistant bonded with them and she liked it.

“It is such a great opportunity to meet people from around the world and experience other cultures without having to go too far from home if you do not want to,” Hannah said. “It is just really cool to see their culture and how they experience their life here.”

Outen thinks it is a rewarding experience for American students to be mentors.

“You meet new people, get new connections, you experience the other cultures, and then I still talk to my mentee’s from when I first started. A couple of them headed back to their homes, and a couple of them stayed here,” Outen said. “It really nice to build lasting relationships with people from all over the world, it is really awesome.”
Outen believe that mentoring is a good way for people to expand their horizon.

The ACCESS program is celebrating its 40 years this year and the Mentor program is starting its fourth year.

Outen says the program gives you a glimpse of what other countries are and can see how they are different from each other.

“A lot of people go to school in America, they don’t leave America, especially like my family. A lot of them have never traveled out of the country, and that is something I have always wanted to do, and I think this is kind of a good place to start,” Outen said. “You can kind of see a little bit of parts of the world without going too far from your comfort zone.”

Currently, the Mentor program has six mentors, Hanna Outen, Jakson Kennedy, Lia Downs, David Grimm, and Talyah Fogle.

The Mentor Program welcomes students to join the program to mentor international students and experience other cultures.

To join the program or ask for more information you can contact Kristen Marshall at [email protected]

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