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The Meet your Mentor programme offers Dutch students with an ethnic minority background a mentor who guides students in the transition to the labour market. 3 new participants share their expectations of the programme.

Through their contact with their mentor, students receive support with challenges and discover where their strength lies as a young professional.

The programme is facilitated by the Central Diversity Office of the UvA, and five of the UvA's faculties are already particpating in it. 

A new round of the programme will start in April 2023: registration is open until Friday, 17 March.  

Ayisha Ashraf (aged 27, Master of Medicine, AMC)

What are your expectations? Why did you sign up? What appealed to you in the programme?

I've been reading up on this programme for a while now and now that I've completed my Bachelor's I came to the conclusion that this programme is exactly what I need right now. I currently have a few months off and I have many doubts about my the next steps in my career and I have noticed that I don’t dare to take risks on the jobmarket: I quickly get into a comfort zone and don’t have the confidence to take on challenges (for example, taking on a management position). At the same time I know I can do it, but I still never dare to take the step. I've also wanted to combine entrepreneurship or explore other sectors with the medical world, but I don't know where to start.

The stories about experiences of other students who have participated in this programme have made me enthusiastic to participate. I feel like this is the right step for me.

My goal with this programme is to have more confidence and to increase knowledge about myself in relation to a career level and to find a good balance between my current job and private life. My parents are not educated or do not have the same profession. My friends, sisters and classmates are peers and therefore are in the same phase of life as me and are also looking for answers to those questions. Meet your Mentor matches me with a professional who can answer my questions. I expect the online training to give me questions in the career field that you wouldn’t ask yourself normally.

My expectation is that thanks to all these parts of Meet your Mentor I will be able to find direction and answers to questions that I cannot easily receive from my environment.

Ashmita Sampatsing

Ashmita Sampatsing (21 years old, Artificial Intelligence, FNWI)

Why did you sign up? What appealed to you in the programme? What are your expectations?

I received an e-mail about the programme and I registered quite impulsively. One thing is for sure, I want to get rid of the doubts I have about the continuation of my career (or at least a part of it, there will always be a little doubt whether you are on the right track). I saw this as an opportunity, especially after the Covid-era that has limited a good orientation on the jobmarket.

I am very pleased that Meet your Mentor has enabled me to meet more female students of color like me, whom I rarely encounter in the male-dominated Artificial Intelligence programme at the Science Park. This will also be the case at my future workplace. The opportunity to speak with a mentor who has preceded me also appeals to me, because a mentor has already overcome all the challenges I am facing now. I don't have anyone in my environment who has walked a similar path, because everyone has different interests and backgrounds. I therefore think it would be nice to brainstorm with someone who has the same study background and who can give me more tangible advice.

With my participation in this project I hope to make a good start on an orientation towards life after my studies. I can no longer separate the wood from the trees, the choice is huge. I find it really hard to say what I like, what suits me and what I want to commit myself to. With Meet your Mentor I want to find that all out. I hope to get sharp questions back, and to learn from the other perspective that the mentor has and that she will come up with advice. Perhaps this way I can protect myself from dead ends or I will be stimulated to do something that has been very helpful to her.

Destiny Ebinum

Destiny Ebinum (22 years old, Master of Criminal Law, FdR)

Why did you sign up? What appealed to you in the programme? What are your expectations?

I signed up for Meet your Mentor because I was looking for a sparring partner. I am the first in my family to attend university. As a result, few people around me know how this works. In addition, they are unfamiliar with my field: law. Now that I have entered the Master's phase of my studies, I am faced with several choices and I am occupied with exploring the jobmarket. The people around me do their best to support me in this, which I really appreciate, but since they know little about studying and my field, they find this difficult. I noticed more and more that I needed someone who had already gone through the entire process to brainstorm with me about important choices that are coming up in my career.

What appealed to me most about the programme is that every mentee is linked to a mentor based on their profile. There are several mentoring programs available where you will be randomly matched with a person from the field. However, I find it extremely important that I click with the person I share my stories with. The fact that every mentor is linked to a mentee was therefore the distinctive factor for me to sign up. This was also because most former participants indicated that they had been assigned a mentor with whom they really clicked.

At the moment I am in the master phase of my studies and this means that my transition to the jobmarket is getting closer. The different choices sometimes feel quite overwhelming, especially since I'm interested in a lot of things. By doing the training and brainstorming with my mentor, I hope to gain more insight into what I really look for in a job and what kind of workplace suits me. That way I can search for vacancies in a much more targeted way. I also hope to get to know many other young professionals to learn from their experiences.