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Peer Mentorship Program Helps UAlbany Students Prepare for Education Abroad Experiences

The Albany International Representatives (AIRs) are Returned Education Abroad Students Interested in Offering Advice, Support  

Dylan Marshall, a senior globalization studies major and AIRs mentor, studied abroad at Al Akhawayn University in the Atlas Mountain Region of Morocco.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 3, 2019) – An initiative through the University’s Center for International Education and Global Strategy is helping UAlbany students prepare for and transition from their education abroad experiences through a peer mentorship program.


The Albany International Representatives (AIRs) are returned education abroad students who volunteer their time encouraging students to consider participation in academic opportunities around the world, according to Jay Stokes, a program coordinator for education abroad at UAlbany. 


“AIRs offer advice and support to students who are interested in or planning to study abroad on what to expect and how to overcome obstacles, from finding funding to decrease costs to navigating different educational systems,” Stokes said. 


AIRs help promote education abroad initiatives to the campus community by organizing social events, participating in classroom and departmental presentations focused on education abroad opportunities,and other forms of outreach, according to Renée DeCelle, director for education abroad. 


DeCelle said that the AIRs program also helps students upon their return to the University as they transition back to campus life. 


“One of the goals of the AIRs program is to provide returning students to UAlbany with a safe landing space,” DeCelle said. “We want to help students have a smooth re-entry into their home university and help manage ‘reverse cultural adjustment.’”


Dylan Marshall, a senior globalization studies major at UAlbany, said he chose to join AIRs because he wanted to help other students prepare for the same issues that he faced during his education abroad experiences in Morocco, France and Israel. 


“There are so many myths when it comes to study abroad, whether they be about affordability or safety, and all of the unknowns can be paralyzing as a student,” said Marshall, who is also pursuing a minor in French. “It’s my hope that in sharing my experiences and knowledge learned, I can educate and encourage others to pursue the opportunities available to them.”  


Students who are interested in joining the AIRs program as an ambassador and mentor can apply at the beginning of the semester, according to Stokes. Students who are interested in speaking with an AIRS representative can contact the Center for International Education & Global Strategy. 


Career and Education Abroad Fair  


Another way for students to learn about education abroad opportunities and resources is through the Education Abroad fair, held each semesteraccording to DeCelle. 


This semester, the Office of Career and Professional Development and Education Abroad are joining forces for the Career and Education Abroad Fair,slated for Sept. 10 in the SEFCU Arena. Participants can meet and speak with AIRs and international students to share experiences, as well as receive information on international internships and jobs. 


The AIRs program was established six years ago at UAlbany through the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. The University offers more than 80 opportunities for education abroad, internships, service learning, volunteer and research in over 30 countries worldwide. Learn more about UAlbany education abroad programs.



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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.