International Students

International Student Mentors

The International Student Mentor (ISM) Program at the University of Rochester exists to foster meaningful interactions between current UR students and incoming international freshmen. ISMs begin communicating with our new international students in the early summer to help them prepare for what's ahead at UR.  Throughout the year, ISMs continue to support these students by organizing fun events and serving as a resource for questions about U.S. culture and academics. 

Learn more about our 2014 ISMs below!!

Some things to expect from your mentor:

  1. Over the summer, mentors email their assigned mentees who are currently at home overseas. Emails contain important dates, information and reminders about moving in to begin the freshman year at the U of R. These emails also serve as a platform to communicate with the other international students assigned to your ISM and are an opportunity to ask questions you may have about the University, the local community, or the U.S. in general.
  2. International Move-in Day! All ISMs will assist international students move into their dorms. The first day also offers a chance to meet and bond with ISMs and fellow new students. 
  3. Throughout the year, ISMs plan group dinners and other fun and/or helpful group events. ISMs will also periodically check-in by email, to make sure your first year at UR is going well!
  4. 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!

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

About
Agnes Chen
Agnes (Xinyi) Chen
Class of 2017
Majoring in Mathematics & Business

Hi Class of 2018! I'm Agnes, from Shanghai, China. I'm a rising Sophomore double majoring in Mathematics and Business, with minor in Studio Arts. I love traveling, singing, dancing, photography, sports, and...of course, eating! I'm currently a photographer in SPOON (it's all about foooood) and the Communications Chair in Chinese Student Association. The first year in the University of Rochester was a great experience to me and it's a pleasure to be an International Student Mentor and Orientation Volunteer. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you in summer! Bundle up and get ready for your wonderful college life here in Rochester!

My Advice:
  1. Get out of your comfort zone! What are you afraid of? Forget about the language barrier and force yourself to talk to different people! Make friends and start building connections. Also, there are hundreds of organizations and clubs on campus. Try them out!
  2. Pack light and smart! Hey, this is Rochester. Don't expect too much about the good weather. Half of the year is going to be winter here, so get prepared.
  3. Relax and enjoy your first year of college. It will be the most unforgettable and beautiful memory in your life
Tian (Claire) Chen
Claire (Tian) Chen
Class of 2015
Majoring in Mathematics, Financial Economics & Art History

I’m from Nanjing, China. I started my American life since high school sophomore year in MA. My hobbies are reading novels and history, painting watercolor or digital art, jogging, and practicing cooking. I have great curiosity towards anything I didn’t try. I’m involved in the school Chinese Students’ Association, Hartnett Art Gallery, and Alpha Kappa Psi.

My Advice:
  1. Stay open-minded and keep learning
  2. Try out things you never did before and break conventions
  3. Academic goals are important, but there are more meanings of life outside your school life
Kayon Ellis
Kayon Ellis
Class of 2016
Majoring in Geomechanics

Hi Hi! I’m Kayon and I am Jamaican. It is a small island in the Caribbean where it is always sunny. I speak English Jamaican Creole (believe me it is it’s own language), and a little bit of German. I love traveling, and this summer I will be going to Germany. I love the water and could spend everyday in the pool. I love adventures and getting to know people. I am enthusiastic and super outgoing, so I can always find some crazy adventure to embark on with my friends. I love the University of Rochester and I know you will too. Ciao, Auf Wiedershen, Bis Spater, Bye!

My Advice:
  1. Ask for help! Everyone is here to help you, so don’t be afraid to speak up.
  2. Pack lightly. You can buy most of the things you need once you arrive.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk to people during Orientation. Everybody is just as nervous as you may be, so don’t be afraid to reach out
Requests no photo
Lujain Felemban
Class of 2017
Intended major in Chemistry

Hey new freshies. Welcome to the place where you'll spend the best days of your life! My name is Lujain and I am a sophomore, coming from Saudi Arabia. I plan to major in Chemistry and double minor in Business and Studio Arts. Around campus, you'll find me hanging out with my MSA friends or shooting with the Archery club. I plane to get more involved with the Chemistry Council and SADACA. Outside of campus, I enjoy attending Eastman concerts and Horseback riding (with URET). Working in labs is also a big part of my life, so you'll find me in Hutch all the time!

My Advice:
  1. Find yourself. Being here is an opportunity to discover other sides of yourself, new passions and parts of you that you didn’t know about. So be open-minded and embrace it
  2. Believe me, you will find people who you can connect with, just try and be social
  3. Join at least one club. It's the best way to get to know people. Either your cultural, religious or academic group. Try new sports and club activities. You might enjoy it :)
Tristan Ford
Tristan Ford
Class of 2017
Intended major in Biomedical Engineering

Hi Guys! My name’s Tristan and I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Here at the U of R, I’m involved in the Students’ Association Government, Student Health Advisory Committee, Swing Dance club, and International Student Mentor program. A fun fact about me is I love baking. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

My Advice:
  1. Talk to lots of students, both international and students from the U.S.
  2. Exercise often
  3. Visit somewhere new around Rochester each semester!
Xiayan Huan
Eric (Xiayan) Huan
Class of 2015
Majoring in Psychology & Economics

What's up Class of 2018!! I am a rising senior majoring in Psychology and Economics. I transferred from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and I’m currently the president of UR Entrepreneurs and a Gandhi Service Fellow at UR. As a skateboarder, photographer and cello player, I'm a one of a kind mentor you'll meet and have lots of fun with!

My Advice:
  1. Have an understanding, respect and appreciation for everyone you meet at UR.
  2. Talk to people and don't worry about your language.
  3. Hang out with me!
Eun Hee Lee
Hannah (Eun Hee) Lee
Class of 2015
Majoring in Microbiology & Chemistry

Hi, I am from South Korea. I am a microbiology major. I am interested in research and pharmacy. I play flute in the Wind Symphony. I like watching movies and spending good time with friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need help. I cannot wait to meet you guys!

My Advice:
  1. Be yourself.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  3. Relax and be open-minded.
Md. Tanveer Karim
Tanveer Karim
Class of 2016
Majoring in Physics and Astronomy & Mathematics

Hello everyone! I am originally from Bangladesh but currently live in New York City. I am multilingual. I like to read, travel and play football (what some of you might refer to as soccer). I am involved with the Society of Physics Students (SPS), Astronomy Club and Students' Association for Interfaith Cooperation (SAIC). I am really excited to meet you all!

My Advice:
  1. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. College life is all about experiencing new things!
  2. Don't be shy or intimidated to approach people. Most of the students and faculties are really helpful and friendly.
  3. Take some courses just for fun. Not every course has to complement your major/minor.
Kelly Ling He
Kelly (Ling) He
Class of 2017
Intended majors in Mathematics and Financial Economics

Hey Class of 2018! Welcome to University of Rochester! I’m Kelly, from Hangzhou, China! Besides my double majors, I’m also double minoring in Spanish and Computer Science. I love travelling, dancing and design. I’m currently a member of Ballet Performance Group and a study group leader for calculus. I came to the States three years ago and I totally understand the excitement, anxiety, and all the other feelings you might have as an international student. I am always ready to share my stories with you guys and to help as much as I can! My best suggestion for you is to relax and you will have a lot of fun! Also, I strongly recommend that you look for different resources on campus, and I bet you will be surprised! Looking forward to meeting you guys in summer!

My Advice:
  1. You will only experience freshman year once and it usually feels so fast. So please take it slow, and make everyday count.
  2. Explore your interests. If you cannot find any, create one.
  3. Never be afraid to speak up, because you will always find someone who shares your ideas.

Abdelrhaman Hassan
Class of 2016
Majoring in Financial Economics & Interdepartmental (Entrepreneurship)

Hi Everyone, my name is Abdelrhaman Hassan, also go by Abdu. I am a rising senior pursuing a Financial Economics and Entrepreneurship double major. I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt and moved to South Africa to finish my high school at the African Leadership Academy. On campus, I am part of the debate team, the Arab Association, and Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity. I've enjoyed using a lot of the UR's resources, including interning abroad in London and creating my own major-- and I look forward to sharing with you the opportunities that are waiting for you at the UR. Please feel free to contact me on Facebook or via email if you want to ask any questions, and I look forward seeing you in August!

My Advice:
  1. Go to breakfast!
  2. Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself-- take classes you never thought of taking, join clubs, volunteer.. it can and will be fun!
  3. Don't damage, forget or lose your I20! It's literally the most important document you'll have during your stay in the US. And don't forget to bring it with you to the airport because you will not enter the US without it even if you have your F1 visa (it happened to me!)
Josh Hardy
Josh Hardy
Class of 2016
Majoring in Business

Hi! I’m from Seattle, Washington and I love the weather there! I love playing Basketball in the Goergen Athletic Center whenever I can. I enjoy many intramural sports here at the U of R, including soccer, footsal, and basketball. I have a bit of a geeky side too though. I like playing Warhammer 40,000 and Rome Total War. I can’t wait for next year and I know that you’ll enjoy it at the University of Rochester!

My Advice:
  1. Be confident!
  2. Stay cheerful!
  3. Enjoy all the activities here!
Mengni He
Mengni (Mony) He
Class of 2017
Intended major in Biology

Hi, I'm Mengni He, you can call me Mony or Money. I am from Guangzhou, China, majoring in Biology. I like traveling and so far, I have been to more than 16 different countries. Also, studying violin for 14 years makes me obsessed with music.

My Advice:
  1. Never say no to free food and free T-shirts!
  2. Get excited, because you will have a wonderful experience in U of R!
  3. Be prepared for the winter...
Sade Richardson
Sade Richardson
Class of 2015
Majoring in Health, Behavior, and Society & Digital Media Studies

I am originally from the beautiful twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. On campus, I am a Meridian, President of the Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness, Vice President of the Douglass Leadership House, and a member of the College Diversity Roundtable.

My Advice:
  1. Have Fun!
  2. Try everything and anything you want to.
  3. Never be afraid to ask a question.
Minfeng Lu
Minfeng Lu
Class of 2017
Intended major in Computer Science & Statistics

Hey Class of 2018! My name is Minfeng Lu and I come from China. One year ago, I was a girl who didn't know how to print out "hello, world" in java. Now, I am a Computer Science workshop leader. As your mentor, I am here to help you print out "hello, Rochester" and witness your growth and improvement in your everyday life. You can always find endless possibilities to accomplish the impossible here.I am pretty sure you will love your life in U of R!

My Advice:
  1. Be yourself! Be proud of the diversity brought by you.
  2. The best way to solve problems is asking questions.
  3. Never try to predict the weather in Rochester. Be prepared!
Zhiyuan Ma
Zhiyuan Ma
Class of 2016
Majoring in Biomedical Engineering

Greetings everyone! I’m a rising junior student from China, and I’m currently majoring in Biomedical Engineering. A badminton fan, I’ve joined several open tournaments with school club. I’m also a member of a Chinese language campus newspaper, “Compass News”. I enjoy discourses about cultural divergence and international relations, and I wish to build up an inclusive community that makes everyone’s own culture prosperous. Please bring your very special idea and culture—you are more than welcome to share your stories with us!

My Advice:
  1. Step out and join clubs that grasps your interest!
  2. Helps are always here waiting for you! Don’t be afraid of embarrassment. We’ve been through those awful situations, and they were really not that bad.
  3. Well…bring some warm clothes. Winter here will be long and chilling. Also don’t get lost in the tunnel system. :)
Coumba Mbodji
Coumba Mbodji
Class of 2017
Intended major in Financial Economics

Hi! My name is Coumba and I was born and raised in Senegal. I have already visited few countries including France, Spain and Tunisia and I studied for two years in South Africa. As you can see, I like traveling. Besides that, I also like dancing, swimming, shopping, hanging out with my friends, video games among others. Outside of classes, I am involved in the Pan-African Students Association, Indulgence Dance Crew, Ma'Frisah and the Undergraduate Finance Club. I cannot wait to meet you and know more about you and I am convinced that you will have a good time here. Welcome to the UofR!!!

My Advice:
  1. Come to college open-minded. Try to meet new people from different places.
  2. Stay healthy: do not skip meals and try to exercise
  3. There is always at least one person you can talk to. Never hesitate to approach people if you have any problems or if you need any help.
Yinghui Qiu
Yinghui Qiu
Class of 2015
Majoring in Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Greetings, incoming freshmen! My name is Yinghui Qiu, and I go by my last name Qiu. I am a senior major in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. I am an international student from Guangzhou, China. Because my family belongs to a minority group called Hakka, I am actually a trilingual kid that is native speaker of Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hakka (the language). I am a pre-vet student that is dreaming to become a marine veterinarian in the future. I enjoy doing all kinds of sports and I wish we could ski together in the awesome winter!

My Advice:
  1. Check out your school email as frequently as possible. Most of the important announcements and fun activities will be notified via email.
  2. Step out of your comfort zone. Meet new people, talk to them and attempt new activities that maybe you haven’t heard before. Don’t worry about your accent, because even native speakers have their own accent as well.
  3. Although freshman year will be super fun, don’t forget to keep up high academic performance. A good way to balance the heavy course work and busy social life is to develop a good time management skill.
Jiacheng Sun
Jiacheng Sun
Class of 2017
Intended major in Mechanical Engineering

Coming from China, spent a semester volunteering-teaching in Nepal before coming to college. I like music, basketball, cooking and boxing.

My Advice:
  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (English speaking, academics, making friends) because most people wouldn’t pick you up .
  2. Open you door of your dorm, invite friends to have some fun.
  3. Life isn’t all about grades!
Wenxin Zhang
Wenxin Zhang
Class of 2017
Intended major in Mathematics & Financial Economics

Hello, Class of 2018! I am Wenxin Zhang from Qingdao, a beautiful coastal city of China. I am a rising sophomore and planning to major in Mathematics and Financial Economics. I enjoy swimming, watching movies and practicing Chinese calligraphy in my spare time. It is a great honor to be an International Student Mentor, and I hope you love your freshman year in this school as much as I do. Look forward to meeting you all in August!

My Advice:
  1. Be self-confident and keep speaking English. As long as you continue practicing, by the end of the first semester, your English will be 10 times better than now.
  2. Try to make friends as many as possible. UR will not only be your college, but also your family. Join clubs and get really involved in campus
  3. Set up your specific goal for each period, know what exactly you want, and then try your best to fight for it!
Zhijie Jay Zhao
Jay (Zijie) Zhao
Class of 2017
Major is undecided

Hi guys, my name is Jay, and I'm from Tianjin, China. For those of you who don't know, Tianjin is a city near Beijing. I love music! I've been practicing guitar for about 5 year s and I can play classic, acoustic and also electric. I'm also a vocalist in NJR rock ensemble. For those of you who are also into music, you found the perfect school! For sports, I played a little bit of everything, like Ping-pang, badminton, breaking, basketball. I really enjoy the life here in Rochester and hope I could help you find the beauty of University of Rochester!

My Advice:
  1. Language is just a tool, and it will never block you from success
  2. Find the available resources and make great use of them
  3. Be open and outreach to others