The Lost Art of Welcoming the Stranger – Apr 12

By: Grace Susatyo


I came to Australia as an international student. Unfortunately, I was part of the guinea pig of a College that was just established. There was no proper Orientation, not to mention having a mentor. I felt like a stranger in the  campus for a period of time. I was lonely and have no friend to talk to –  it was the worst feeling ever!

Nowadays, I am running a mentoring program  to assist new students to come  to the University. I know how the new students feel when they meet their mentors. They are pleased as someone with experience can share some tips on how to overcome language barriers or culture shock, while at the same time balancing the demands of students’ life and the bustling social life. Sadly, mentors only last during Orientation period. Afterwards, students lost contact with their mentors and they are on their own.

My question for you, if you are in the University now, how can you help those students who are feeling like strangers in the big University and make an impact in their lives?

My advice is simply to be an OGRE, but not the kind that you see in SHREK movie.

O- Be Open

Whenever and wherever you are at University, do not sit around with the group of friends  you know. Always try to find someone you do not know and get to know them. Once you have met some new friends, take the initiative to invite them to hang out together. It’s all about being proactive. Maybe you can form a study group or who knows maybe you live close by with them and you can go to University together?  The possibilities are endless.

G- Be genuine

Important point to remember, do not fake it!  Be genuine and be yourself. If you are just pretending to care about someone, they will feel it. People can sense if you have a fake intention, and surely they will avoid you.

R- Render any assistance required

One day, you might see someone who has trouble in bringing all his books from library, be quick to help him. Do not hesitate to do random act of kindness; it will show that you are a positive and helpful person. With this kind of attitude, you are planting a seed of relationship.

E- Embrace the journey

Do not worry if the person you meet does not want to be friends with you. Some people may want to continue the friendship that you offer, some people do not. Just go with the flow!  You may not know where a relationship ends up with. If you cultivate one, even though you do not see the person anymore, you may still keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter, who knows that one day they might be your future career network or your future spouse?

Let us apply this “OGRE” wherever and whenever we are! Without us realising it, this simple act will make a difference in someone’s life.

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