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International Students

Mentors

Students with a mentor

The International Student Mentor (ISM) Program at the University of Rochester exists to foster meaningful interactions between current University of Rochester students and incoming international first-year students.

ISMs begin communicating with new international students in the early summer to help them prepare for campus life. Throughout the year, ISMs continue to support students by organizing fun events and serving as a resource for questions about US culture and academics. 

What ISMs Do

Over the summer, mentors email their assigned mentees, who are currently at home overseas. These emails contain important dates, information, and reminders about moving in to begin the first year at the University of Rochester.

Feel free to email other international students assigned to your ISM and ask questions you may have about the University, the local community, or the United States in general.

All ISMs will assist international students move in to their residence halls. The first day also offers a chance to meet and bond with ISMs and fellow new students. 

Throughout the year, ISMs plan group dinners and other fun or helpful group events. ISMs will also periodically check in by email to make sure your first year is going well.

As a group, ISMs coordinate events for the greater University community. We hope that all their mentees will attend these events to show their support!

Contacting Mentors

Please feel free to contact any of the mentors if you find something in common after reading their biographies below. All of the mentors are available to answer your questions, but you will be specifically assigned to one ISM.

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Kailin Zhuang

Class of 2019

Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Senior ISM

Hi there! My name is Kailin and I am originally from Shenyang, China. I am majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences with clusters in Philosophy and Psychology. On campus, I am involved in GreenSpace, Circle K International, Hall Council, and also work as a research assistant. Additionally, I will be a workshop leader for LIN110 next semester. In my free time, I love doing and teaching yoga, running, and traveling with my friends. I’m super excited to be back this year as the senior ISM, and I am really looking forward to meeting all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Dress in layers and use the tunnels!
  2. Grades are important but don’t worry too much about it. Take some fun classes. Keep an open mind and enjoy your college life!
  3. Get involved and ask questions! Go to office hours, check out different student organisations and try new things. And whenever you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask!


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Agustin Diaz Herrero

Class of 2020

International Relation

ISM Advisory

My name is Agustin Diaz Herrero. I'm from Mexico and Spain. I grew up in Mexico City and have been a Scout for 12 years. I love baseball and also enjoy watching a funny TV show. I believe laughter is the best thing we have to make this world Ever Better, so I'm always down to do something new and fun.

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new things. The people you're about to meet have amazing stories and are passionate about things you probably don't know existed (they will probably make you try them too!). Being open will definitely make your experience unforgettable.
  2. Remember that learning also happens outside of the classroom. Rochester is much more than just classes. The learning experience you're about to live goes way beyond the classroom. Every day you'll learn new things without noticing.
  3. Don't forget there's always people there for you. The most important thing for you to know in this first year is that you are not alone. There is a lot of people whose job is to make sure you're feeling well. Do not hesitate to contact them if you ever feel the need.


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Lynne Xu

Class of 2020

Applied Mathematics

ISM Advisory

Welcome, the newly appointed Yellowjackets! My name's Lynne and I am from Jiangsu, China. I am a rising junior double majoring in applied mathematics and business accounting. Outside classroom, I'm a math TA, an international social media ambassador, a CETL tutor, and the president of UR Actuarial Club. I am also actively involved in Chamber Singers. I love to read. My favorite authors are Jeffrey Archer and Kate Morton. I look forward to meeting you all!

My Advice:

  1. Be positive. Sometimes school can overwhelm you but always remember everything you are doing makes you closer to whom you want to be.
  2. Make friends. Human beings are social creatures. We all like to make friends. Having someone to talk make everything better and easier.
  3. Take breaks. It is ok to have breaks. It is ok to want to relax and not do work. Everyone is here to live a life. A life consisting of fun and study makes a college career memorable.


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Vatsal Agarwal

Class of 2021

Computer Science and Economics

Mentor

Hey there! I'm Vatsal, a rising sophomore at your future home, this phenomenal place we call the U of R. I'm from one of the smallest countries of the world, India (just kidding, obviously). I'm pursuing two majors, something you'll see a lot of people doing here. My two majors are Computer Science and Economics. When I'm not at the library, you can catch me trying to climb fake rocks on a wall, learning to invest money that I don't have and listening to loud EDM music.

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to try new things, reach out to people with different backgrounds and step out of your comfort zone. Easier said than done but if you try hard enough, you can do it. And if you ever feel low or feel that things are not going the way you want them to, feel free to talk to your peers, ISM, RA, D'Lion, First-Year Fellow, TA, Counselor, Professor... Oh God, this list is just endless. My only job as an ISM is to support and help you with any problem you bring to me.
  2. Now that you're in college and in the United States, you need to learn more about college life here and this country's culture and people. I'm sure you'll love what you learn. But for those times when you don't, keep in mind that you're in a completely new environment and not everything will be the same as back home.
  3. The city of Rochester has a lot of hidden gems to offer. Go out, explore and find them all. Whatever you're looking for: a fun night at a club, a day at the museum, food from the other side of the world, and so on, Rochester won't let you down.


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Anjaana Bhairo

Class of 2020

International Relations and Business

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Anjaana, but everyone calls me Anji for short. I am from South Africa and I am part of class of 2020, double majoring in international relations and business with a minor in legal studies. Apart from my interest in international politics I am part of the Students Association for Interfaith Cooperation, the Pan African Students Association and the Hindu Students Association. I grew up with a family that loves outdoor adventures and I particularly enjoy horseback riding and scuba diving- so if any of you are interested in outdoor adventures let me know :D

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things: As international students, not only are you adapting to college life, but to a new country as well. The best way to adapt to your new environment is by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try new sports, new foods and new hobbies.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the support groups on campus: As an international student, there might be times when you feel lonely or homesick. During times like these, it is important that you can reach out to organizations/groups that are specifically set up to give you a helping hand. Two organizations that have greatly helped me out so far, have been the International Student Office (ISO) and the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA)
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: At times, college can be difficult, but this doesn’t mean that you have struggle through it alone. If you are struggle with classes reach out to your professors and their teachings assistance’s (TA’s) for academic support. Professors at the UofR are always willing to go above and beyond to help students with their classes.


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Ariunbilig Choijilsuren

Class of 2020

Chemical Engineering

Mentor

Hi! My name is Ariunbilig and I am chemical engineering major in class of 2020. I am involved in UR debate club and I am Toy wrangler/ Secretary for Toys for Tots. I am also taking piano lessons at Eastman. I am very excited to meet you all and please e-mail me if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Stay on top of the things at the start of semester. The classes start slowly at the start of the semester and it is very easy to dismiss the academics. However, you’ll see that time really goes fast and once you fall behind, it is really difficult to catch up. So start strong and save that stress!
  2. Go to all of the orientation programs. Don’t dismiss them thinking they’re just optional. Orientation is the best time to meet new people and make friends with open mind. Plus, there are a lot of free goodies including the food, T-shirts and water bottles.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your RA, freshman fellow, international mentor or D’ Lion if you have any concerns, problems or if you made any mistakes. There is absolutely no small or shameful concern and chances are someone must’ve made had similar concern. There are infinitely many resources on campus to help you.


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Mirette Ibrahim

Class of 2021

International Relations and French

Mentor

Hello mentees and welcome to the University of Rochester. My name is Mirette Ibrahim, I am originally from Cairo, Egypt but I have spent the last two years of high school in China where I studied the International Baccalaureate in the United world college of Changshu, UWC-CSC. I am a rising Sophomore majoring in International Relations and French. During my first years, I was an EcoRep in Hoeing 3, I am also involved in other activities on campus such as photography and Student Association for the Development of Arab Cultural Awareness (SADACA), I will also be working at common connections.

My Advice:

  1. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
  2. Spend less time in your room, socialize and make friends from all over the world.
  3. Don’t stress, take it easy and enjoy your first year!


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Kyoko Imai

Class of 2019

International Relations

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Kyoko Imai and I am a rising senior majoring in International Relations, minoring in French and doing a cluster in Chemistry. I am from Japan, but have lived in Myanmar, Tunisia and Abu Dhabi. On campus, I am involved in the Club Tennis Team, the Japanese Students’ Association, am a Teacher Assistant for Chemistry 132, and am also a Lifeguard. In my free time, I love spending time with my friends, trying out new restaurants around Rochester, listening to music, and working out.

My Advice:

  1. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Whether it be your professor, TA, teammate or counselor, there are so many resources available for you to use whenever you are feeling lost or need some help. Use them!
  2. Join a club. This is one of the best ways to find something fun to do outside of your academics and is also a great way to make friends aside from of your classes or dorm.
  3. Find a balance. It is always important to get your work done, but make sure you put aside time to destress and have some fun!


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Sachi Inoue

Class of 2019

Microbiology

Mentor

Hi everyone, My name is Sachi and I am from the Manila in the Philippines (although I have also lived in China and Japan). I am a Microbiology major and am passionate about furthering my studies in the field of infectious diseases in the context of global health development. On campus, I am a brother of Alphi Phi Omega and volunteer through the Friends of Strong Program at Golisano Children's Hospital. Sugary drinks and meat are my vices. I look forward to meeting all the new international students in the fall and and can't wait for more international friendships!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be scared to ask any questions. If you don't know what tater tots are (like me when I first arrived on campus), you're not alone!
  2. Embrace the differences. College is definitely different from home, but it also is a time to learn about other cultures while also sharing your own. Reach out to the domestic students and other international students who would all love to learn about your unique life experiences!
  3. Be yourself! If you don't like exercising or want to knit in your bedroom all day, do it. People will respond to the genuine person you are! There is someone for everything at Rochester.


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Cindy Juarez

Class of 2019

Political Science

Mentor

Hi all and welcome to U of R!! My name is Cindy Juarez and I'm from Chandler, Arizona. I am a Political Science major with clusters in Legal Studies and Brain and Cognitive Sciences. In addition to my studies, I am a student administrative assistant at the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections and you can find me spending quite of bit of my time there or the library. In my spare time, I like to read, hike, or hang out with my friends or talk about Arizona or my love for avocados.

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to go to lectures or events alone, there is always something going on! You never who you are going to meet and this is an opportunity to discover new interests or reignite old ones and it may take you down a path you didn't realize was an option before (or be like me and just geek about history in my spare time!).
  2. Remember to take time to stay in touch with family and friends from home. It can get overwhelming to balance and work with the time difference is annoying but do make an effort to stay in touch and it can help with homesickness, just a quick call or text message can brighten both of your days.
  3. Feel free to say yes many new opportunities, but be cautious and don't spread yourself out so thin, you are here for school and it takes time to find a balance that works best for you.


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Madina Jumabaeva

Class of 2020

Microbiology

Mentor

Hi! My name is Madina Jumabaeva and I’m a Pre-Med majoring in Microbiology and minoring in Chemistry. I am originally from Uzbekistan but live in Seattle, Washington. My family moved a lot that I changed schools 6 times, so I lived in Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and in the US, Ohio and Washington. Here at the UofR, I am part of Shotokan Karate Club, Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, American Society for Microbiology, SUBS, NSCS and Circle K International. I also work in research lab at the URMC. I look forward to meeting you all!

My Advice:

  1. Be open-minded and explore. It is important to attend events and meet new people in the beginning of the semester when you have time.
  2. Learn about different clubs at activities fair and join ones you are interested, or just would like to learn more about. Go to clubs' general interest meeting and see if you like it. It’s a great way to meet people with same interests as you.
  3. Have a set schedule/planner to keep track of things you need to do. It helps you to get things organized: both school work, appointments and events. Having an outline (i.e google calendar) for the day will help you get done with all the assignments and studying and leave time to relax.


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Salma Khai

Class of 2021

Political Science and Mathematics

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Salma Khai and I can't wait to meet you all. I am form Rabat, Morocco where I lived most of my life, then I moved to South Africa for two years before coming to The U of R. I am a rising sophomore majoring in Political science and Mathematics. I am pretty familiar with some of the amazing resources and opportunities the university has to offer so do not hesitate to contact if you have any questions.

My Advice:

  1. Never hesitate to ask. There is nothing such as a stupid question, all questions are valid. So please ask when you need it specially during orientation.
  2. Get out of your room, make friends and try new things. This will keep your life balanced if stress kicks in.
  3. Don't be harsh on yourself and take care of your health. Take it easy!


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Emily Kumpf

Class of 2019

Health Policy and Psychology

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Emily and I¿ am a rising senior with a double major in health policy and psychology and a minor in Spanish. Outside of academics, I¿ volunteer in the Rochester community, am very involved with Students Helping Honduras, and play club soccer. In my free time, I¿ love to run, explore Rochester, and do yoga.

My Advice:

  1. School is important, but try to remember that grades do not define who you are. You are worth so much more than a number. Make taking care of your mental and physical health a priority.
  2. Meet people from all walks of life. Meet people who will challenge your perspective and who will allow you to grow.
  3. Engage with the community of Rochester. There are endless opportunities to meet members of the community and "break the campus bubble".


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Jorge Matute

Class of 2021

Neuroscience

Mentor

Hey there! My name is Jorge Matute and I am originally from Juticalpa, Honduras but have been living in New Jersey for the past three years. I am on a pre-medical track majoring in Neuroscience with possible minors in Public Health and Spanish. On campus, I am the President of SALSITA, Secretary of D’lions and member of Students Helping Honduras. This summer, I will be taking part in the Urban Fellows Program and research at URMC and next semester I will be a TA for Bio 110. I love meeting new people, so I can’t wait to meet all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Don’t limit your friend group to people from your same country. Interacting and diversifying your friend group with people from different countries and cultures can help you gain different values and perspectives on several things.
  2. Plan ahead for your semester. Make sure you have the syllabus for each course you're taking, and highlight all of the most challenging components like major class projects, midterms, and final exams. Show up to class. A lot of professors base their exams mostly on material covered in lectures rather than textbook material. Missing classes can mean missing out on important information for understanding of class and preparation for midterms.
  3. Take advantage of your school's resources. CETL, OMSA, the Career Center and many other resources are available for you to use them at your benefit and the best of all is that they are FREE! Seek out for help at any time when you feel like you need it.


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Aanya Myrie-Silburn

Class of 2020

Political Science

Mentor

Hi, my name is Aanya Myrie-Silburn and I am an incoming junior here at the University of Rochester! I am majoring in Political Science, with a minor in Film and Media Studies. I am from New York City, which is incredibly culturally diverse. I am excited to meet all of our International Students and introduce you to U of R culture, which is essentially just being your unique and amazing selves!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to make friends from different backgrounds!
  2. Prioritize your health: physical, emotional, and mental all included!
  3. If you have a problem, there is almost definitely a campus resource to solve it. Don't be afraid to ask for help!


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Viet-Duy Nguyen

Class of 2019

Computer Science

Mentor

Hi y'all. Welcome to the University of Rochester. I'm Vietduy, rising senior majoring in computer science and minoring in political science. Here is my email: vnguy14@u.rochester.edu. WeChat ID is D07089999. If you have any questions, lmk. I work as a research assistant at both VISTA and HCI Lab in the Computer Science Department. I used to be an organizer of Rochester Hackathon, and tutor in Computer Science Undergraduate Council. I'm really excited to be ISM again this year. Vietnamese Coffee Addict. Anti-Gun. "Ph¿" boy. That's me!

My Advice:

  1. Try hard in your first 2.5 years in college, you won't regret!
  2. Try something new. Break your limit and talk to people.
  3. Remember the first two things above!


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Nina Shen

Class of 2020

Film and Media Studies and Financial Economics

Mentor

Hi, everyone! I’m Nina Shen and I am originally from Shanghai, China. I’m double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Financial Economics with an intended minor in Environmental Geology. On campus, I’m the publicity chair of Undergraduate Film Council and the vice president of Modern Language and Culture Undergraduate Council. Additionally, I work at the Rettner Digital Media Lab and Connection Cafe so you will probably see me around on campus! During free time, I love watching films and make them on my own.

My Advice:

  1. Find your personal way to deal with stress. It is very common to feel stressed or under pressure in college so it is very important to find your own way out.
  2. Utilize resources around you. There are many things happening on campus that you even may not be aware of. Don’t hesitate to ask around if you have any questions!
  3. Enjoy! Try new things! You will never regret!


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Diana Son

Class of 2021

Chemistry

Mentor

Hi all! My name is Diana Son and although I am from Russia, I have been studying abroad for almost 5 years as of now. Outside of stressing out over school or living in the library, I spend time drawing on my laptop, watching YouTube/anime and cooking. On campus, I am involved with National Society of Collegiate Students (NSCS) or you could see me hovering from one club to another for food (believe me, there are TONS of free food given out here and there). I am really looking foward to meeting all of you this fall!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone! But at the same time, just be yourself and don't try to fit into others' expectations. You will always find a crowd that fits you eventually - college is a pretty diverse place, after all.
  2. You should always go to lectures. Why? It puts your mind on the right track even if it can be quite lengthy. Plus, from writing down notes, you put at least "some" information down into your brain.
  3. College can be EXTREMELY stressful. It is very helpful to reach out to other people: be it your family, friends or faculty. It is very easy for people to experience a mental breakdown, so having someone by your side will help you.


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Alice Wang

Class of 2020

Business and Japanese

Mentor

Hi Yellow-jackets! My name is Alice and I'm a rising junior with Finance major and Japanese minor. Besides school work, I have also been in different cultural and sustainability groups on campus. (e.g.: D'Lion, Team Green, CSA, Ecoreps...)

My Advice:

  1. Pay attention to posters, campus events and attend them!
  2. Break your personal bubble and say 'how's it going' to everyone:)
  3. Avoid using your mother language when there are people who don't understand near you.


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Selina Xu

Class of 2021

Biochemistry

Mentor

Hello everyone, welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Selina, and I am from Hong Kong! I am majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Music. On campus, I am actively involved in the Hong Kong Students' Association (URHK) and the Wind Symphony. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and exploring nearby restaurants in my free time (definitely ask me for restaurant recommendations). Can't wait to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Stay healthy! Don't pull an all-nighter when you are not that type of person.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask when you are confused - you will always be able to get help if you try reaching out.
  3. Join clubs/organizations! This is a great opportunity meeting people and getting involved on campus.


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Mojin Yu

Class of 2019

Digital Media Studies and Psychology

Mentor

Hi guys! My name is Mojin and I'm from Beijing, China. I am double-majoring in Digital Media Studies and Psychology, and have a minor in Brain and Cognitive Science. I love singing and pop music, and that’s why I am a proud member of Vocal Point (the only all-female A Cappella group on campus) and NJR! I also really enjoy painting, graphic design and photography. Can’t wait to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Take good care of yourself! Make sure you get enough sleep and have a regular eating schedule. Health is the foundation of everything.
  2. Stay open-minded , and don’t be scared to try new things!
  3. Make some good friends – it’s not the quantity but the quality that matters.


Nicole Zhang

Class of 2020

Business and Mathematics

Mentor

Hey yo! Welcome to U of R:) I’m Nicole and I’m from Hangzhou, China. I’m a sophomore, double major in business and math, and minor in psychology. Besides having diverse academic interests, I like to try out different things outside class. In my freshman year, I was on the quidditch team and Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. Currently, I am involved in Rice Crew dance club and Psychology Undergraduate Council. If you want to reach out to me to know more about this campus, try PRR and Q&I. These are two of my favorite spots to study and hang out with friends. Lastly a fun fact about me, I am really really a foodie. I literally like all kinds of food and I never get tired of chicken wings and bubble tea.

My Advice:

  1. Get winter boots and a waterproof jacket. They are life savers.
  2. Join clubs, go to events, and meet more people. Find a place you feel belong to. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people, because there truly are people who CARE about you and who are willing to HELP you.
  3. Even when you have a busy social and academic life, don’t forget to call your family and take some time for yourself!


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Yuchao Zhao

Class of 2021

Data Science and Economics

Mentor

Hello! Nihao! ¡Hola! Bonjour! My name is Yuchao Zhao. I am from Beijing, China, and I was born and raised in Lanzhou, China before I moved to Beijing. Being a traditional transportation hub on the Silk Road, Lanzhou has a very diverse culture, and I really hope you guys to visit Lanzhou if you can. I am intending to major in Data Science and Economics and minor in Mathematics. I am involved in UR SASE (Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers), learned a little bit of Cantonese from URHK (Hong Kong Student Association), and listened to many Data Science talks.

My Advice:

  1. Be healthy. Be happy. Sleep enough. Enjoy your college life. If you feel stressed or homesick, it is strongly recommended to reach out your ISMs, RAs, UHS (University Health Service), or UCC (University Counseling Center), or just simply talk to friends and family. Do not try to handle all difficulties all by yourself. Also, if you notice that one of your friends needs help, please reach out resources listed above as soon as possible.
  2. You will have more freedom in college than in high school. Sounds cool, right? It would be even cooler if you manage and utilize your time well!
  3. Try different things! Do things that you haven’t done before. Generally, you will not lose too much when you make mistakes in college, but you can benefit from them if you really learn from them.