Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you offering the mentoring program?
Students who go abroad often return with new skills in intercultural communication and a worldly open-mindedness. While this is undoubtedly true for many students, some also come home from their stay abroad with negative learning outcomes and reinforced prejudices. This undesirable effect of study abroad can be counteracted by preparing and accompanying students during their time abroad with a mentoring system that supports them not only in their critical social and cultural negotiation with the host country but also in reflecting upon their own behavior in the intercultural connection.
What exactly is intercultural learning?
Intercultural learning is about learning how to deal with intercultural situations, e.g. how to act, behave, communicate with others in an intercultural context. It is also about learning to deal with personal stereotypes and prejudice and about being self-critical and self-aware. Today, we are part of a globalized society and intercultural learning is indispensable.
What do I gain from joining the program?
You will receive an official confirmation of participation from the University of Bern. The confirmation will list the intercultural communications skills, learning and competence that you have acquired during the study abroad and as a participant of the mentoring program. If your study plan allows it, you will be granted 2 ECTS for your participation.
Do I get ECTS points for participating in the mentoring program?
This depends on your study plan. If your study plan allows it, MILSA participation can not only be listed in your KSL but also be granted with 2 ECTS.
How much time is needed for participation?
You will need to invest about one afternoon each for the pre-departure and the post-sojourn session. During your study abroad you are required to submit several short pieces of writing and to conduct one Zoom interview with the mentor as well as interview someone you meet during your stay abroad. A couple of months after your return, you will be asked to participate in a short online survey.
Who can apply?
All students who are regularly enrolled at the University of Bern and how are either planning an exchange semester abroad or have arrived from abroad and taken up their studies at the University of Bern.
Is it compulsory for all outbound students to participate in the mentoring program?
No, you can decide if you want to participate. However, signing up for the program is advantageous for a receiving a worldwide exchange placement. Once you’ve been accepted to the program, regular and active participation is expected if you want to complete it and receive the certificate.
Is it compulsory for inbound degree-seeking students?
No, it’s your decision if you want to take part. Once you’ve been accepted, regular and active participation is expected if you want to complete the program and get the certificate.
Can I take part if I am on exchange at the University of Bern?
Yes, you can participate. However, you will not receive the certificate.
How can I apply for the mentoring?
Please register online on our website.
The mentoring program is designed for an exchange of one semester. Can I participate if I am going abroad for more than one semester?
Yes, you can, even though the program is designed for one semester abroad. In that case, you will attend the Coming Home Workshop one semester later.