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Jonas Damou

MAX – Mentor Summer Semester 2020

I had become aware of the MAX program after I returned early from Guadalajara, Mexico in March 2020. As my own study abroad program converted to an online-semester in Germany I wanted to interact and communicate with exchange students who were facing similar struggles in my country. From my perspective being an exchange student often means staying in an international bubble for several reasons, above all the lack of language skills. I was motivated to help others with issues concerning our university system and problems beyond.

The contact restrictions in times of the coronavirus did not allow a personal meeting of mentors and mentees. However the coordinator Luz Pacas did a great job bringing mentor and mentees together in an early stage of the semester. I was able to help my mentee with questions concerning our online-systems moodle and unisono. As we both study social science we also talked about my experience with certain professors and courses.

Luz Pacas organized different types of online meetings via zoom. Some meetings were exclusively for us mentors, where we were briefed about our tasks and could ask questions about the program. Other meetings were group meetings bringing mentors and mentees together. These meetings were organized very well as the coordinator established the topics. Beyond the meetings mentors and mentees organized themselves in a Whatsapp group. This was also a really good opportunity for discussing topics besides the university context and for eventually meeting face-to-face in small groups. The well-structured organization of the online meetings should be highlighted positively. If I had to mention something that could be approved it would be the scheduling of the meetings. I am working in a halftime job and sometimes it was not possible for me to take part in meetings if they were announced just 2 or 3 days in advance. As a suggestion for future MAX programs one could think about the necessity of a mentee only having one mentor. If mentors and mentees were directly brought together in a group, it might improve the exchange.