Orientation

International Students

Mentors

The International Student Mentor (ISM) Program at the University of Rochester exists to foster meaningful interactions between current UR students and incoming international freshmen. ISMs begin communicating with our new international students in the early summer to help them prepare for what's ahead at UR.  Throughout the year, ISMs continue to support these students by organizing fun events and serving as a resource for questions about U.S. culture and academics. 

Learn more about our 2015 ISMs below!!

Some things to expect from your mentor:

  1. Over the summer, mentors email their assigned mentees who are currently at home overseas. Emails contain important dates, information and reminders about moving in to begin the freshman year at the UR. These emails also serve as a platform to communicate with the other international students assigned to your ISM and are an opportunity to ask questions you may have about the University, the local community, or the U.S. in general.
  2. International Move-in Day! All ISMs will assist international students move into their dorms. The first day also offers a chance to meet and bond with ISMs and fellow new students. 
  3. Throughout the year, ISMs plan group dinners and other fun and/or helpful group events. ISMs will also periodically check-in by email, to make sure your first year at UR is going well!
  4. As a group, ISMs coordinate events for the greater University community. We hope that all their mentees will attend these events to show their support!

Please feel free to contact any of the mentors if you find something in common after reading their bios below! All of the mentors are available to answer your questions, but you will be specifically assigned to one ISM.

Ezra Baccar

Ezra Baccar

Class of 2017
Email: ebaccar@u.rochester.edu
Hi everyone! My name is Ezra and I am from Lahaina, Hawaii! I love to play tennis and run track. I'm also a member of the Muslim Students Association on campus as well as the Refugee Student Alliance.

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone
  2. Make new friends. College is a great place to start over!
  3. Do something you never thought you would do.

Rahima Bah

Rahima Bah

Class of 2017
Email: rbah@u.rochester.edu
Hey everyone! I am Rahima and I am from Maryland, the state where we can experience all four seasons over four days. I'm a junior majoring in Chemical Engineering and a flute player in the UR Wind Symphony. Music is my addiction. I love learning new skills or facts so I rarely get bored. Can't wait to meet you guys soon!

My Advice:

  1. Become a master at time management. Figure out what task you're going to tackle, when exactly you're going to tackle it and figure out how long it will take. Mastering this skill will allow you to find time to do other things that interest you.
  2. If you have a question, then definitely feel free to ask. If you're nervous about asking a question, then boom, easy way to get out of your comfort zone.
  3. Academics

Ping Chen

Ping Chen

Class of 2017
Email: pchen17@u.rochester.edu
Hello, I'm Ping Chen. I was born and raised in Fuzhou, China. I came to the USA when I was a high school junior. In America, college is not only for studying but for socializing. Every weekend, I go out for a short distanced road trip. I enjoy the scenery along the way. Also you'll most likely find me singing karaoke down the road at Revolution. Singing is my passion!

My Advice:

  1. First of all, don't be shy. You should always believe that people will be friendly to you here. Ask for help when you need it.
  2. Secondly, try to be kind to everyone and make more friends so you won't miss home too much.
  3. Thirdly, when you get stressed, drive out to Lake Ontario and take a fresh breath of air.

Jonavelle Cuerdo

Jonavelle Cuerdo

Class of 2018
Email: jcuerdo@u.rochester.edu
I’m Jonavelle! I come from Saipan, a small island in the Pacific Ocean. I am a member of UR PAWS (animals are amazing, especially dogs), Habitat for Humanity, Grassroots, NJR, and Swing Dance. I play the guitar, and I draw. I love sunny days, but snow forts are cool, too.

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new experiences! You'll meet so many people so listen to their stories and as equally important make sure to share yours.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be intimidated if your peers seem to understand the material easier than you, learn from each other. Every voice matters, including your own.
  3. "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." It's a quote by Dumbledore. Basically, have fun and remember to take breaks!

Yang Deng

Yang Deng

Class of 2018
Email: ydeng9@u.rochester.edu
Hi! This is Yang from Suzhou, China. Cycling and soccer are my favorite sports. I believe you will see me working at the Bike Repair Station very often next semester. Besides the Soccer and Cycling clubs, I am a member of the Optical Society of America. I am also a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. I am getting excited for Orientation and to meet you all. I'll make the best effort to ensure you have a wonderful freshman year!

My Advice:

  1. Make sure you are organized!
  2. Get involved on campus!
  3. Enjoy your freshman year as much as possible!

Kayon Ellis

Kayon Ellis

Class of 2016
Email: kellis6@u.rochester.edu
Hi Hi! I’m Kayon and I am Jamaican. It is a small island in the Caribbean where it is always sunny. I speak English Jamaican Creole (believe me it is it’s own language), and a little bit of German. I love traveling, and this summer I will be going to Germany. I love the water and could spend everyday in the pool. I love adventures and getting to know people. I am enthusiastic and super outgoing, so I can always find some crazy adventure to embark on with my friends. I love the University of Rochester and I know you will too. Ciao, Auf Wiedershen, Bis Spater, Bye!

My Advice:

  1. Ask for help! Everyone is here to help you, so don’t be afraid to speak up.
  2. Pack lightly. You can buy most of the things you need once you arrive.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk to people during Orientation. Everybody is just as nervous as you may be, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Requests no photo

Lujain Felemban

Class of 2017
Email: lfelemba@u.rochester.edu
Hey new freshies. Welcome to the place where you'll spend the best days of your life! My name is Lujain and I am a sophomore, coming from Saudi Arabia. I plan to major in Chemistry and double minor in Business and Studio Arts. Around campus, you'll find me hanging out with my MSA friends or shooting with the Archery club. I plane to get more involved with the Chemistry Council and SADACA. Outside of campus, I enjoy attending Eastman concerts and Horseback riding (with URET). Working in labs is also a big part of my life, so you'll find me in Hutch all the time!

My Advice:

  1. Find yourself. Being here is an opportunity to discover other sides of yourself, new passions and parts of you that you didn’t know about. So be open-minded and embrace it.
  2. Believe me, you will find people who you can connect with, just try and be social.
  3. Join at least one club. It's the best way to get to know people. Either your cultural, religious or academic group. Try new sports and club activities. You might enjoy it :)

Tristan Ford

Tristan Ford

Class of 2017
Hi Guys! My name’s Tristan and I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Here at the U of R, I’m involved in the Students’ Association Government, Student Health Advisory Committee, Swing Dance club, and International Student Mentor program. A fun fact about me is I love baking. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Talk to lots of students, both international and students from the U.S.
  2. Exercise often.
  3. Visit somewhere new around Rochester each semester!

Josh Hardy

Josh Hardy

Class of 2016
Email: jhardy8@u.rochester.edu
Hi! I’m from Seattle, Washington and I love the weather there! I love playing Basketball in the Goergen Athletic Center whenever I can. I enjoy many intramural sports here at the U of R, including soccer, footsal, and basketball. I have a bit of a geeky side too though. I like playing Warhammer 40,000 and Rome Total War. I can’t wait for next year and I know that you’ll enjoy it at the University of Rochester!

My Advice:

  1. Be confident!
  2. Stay cheerful!
  3. Enjoy all the activities here!

Md. Tanveer Karim

Tanveer Karim

Class of 2016
Email: mkarim2@u.rochester.edu
Hello everyone! I am originally from Bangladesh but currently live in New York City. I am multilingual. I like to read, travel and play football (what some of you might refer to as soccer). I am involved with the Society of Physics Students (SPS), Astronomy Club and Students' Association for Interfaith Cooperation (SAIC). I am really excited to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. College life is all about experiencing new things!
  2. Don't be shy or intimidated to approach people. Most of the students and faculties are really helpful and friendly.
  3. Take some courses just for fun. Not every course has to complement your major/minor.

Crystal Lee

Class of 2018
Email: clee69@u.rochester.edu
Hi All! I'm from Rochester, NY! My hobbies include art, napping, and baking. Here at the University of Rochester I am the Vice President of Liberty in North Korea (LINK) and a general member of KASA the BCS Undergraduate Council.

My Advice:

  1. Get involved! As cliche as it is, joining clubs and organizations is how you meet and befriend people you wouldn't normally meet.
  2. Explore the city! Even as a Rochester native, there are so many little nooks and crannies of the city I have yet to discover.
  3. Take time to relax. College is hard. It's all too easy to get overwhelmed so take a break if you feel like you have a lot of stress.

Hyojeong (Annie) Lee

Hyojeong (Annie) Lee

Class of 2018
Email: hlee87@u.rochester.edu
Hello, I am a sophomore studying Chemistry and Biology. I am originally from Seoul, Korea but moved to the United States during middle school. During my free time, I like to watch movies and explore food blogs. I am also a clarinet player in UR Wind Symphony.

My Advice:

  1. Try to participate in as many activities as you can during the first semester of freshman year. This is the only time when you'll have a bunch of free time to just explore and meet people.
  2. Explore College Town and the communities near the campus. There are many hidden and delicious restaurants to go to.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask and seek out help! There are many useful resources on our campus (including us as ISMs) to support you throughout!

Mengyi Lei

Mengyi Lei

Class of 2018
Email: mlei4@u.rochester.edu
Hi! My name is Mengyi and I'm from Guangzhou, China. I am a rising sophomore majoring in Chemistry and Biology. I love doing various kinds of sports especially swimming and volleyball. In my freshman year, I joined the master swimming club as well as taking part in some other clubs.

My Advice:

  1. Be open minded. Be willing to try new things, meet new friends, consider new ideas. Jump out of your comfort zone!
  2. Be active and passionate. Explore your potential and interests. Get involved!
  3. Stay healthy! Breakfast is crucial, even though you might be busy in the morning.

Bingying Liu

Bingying Liu

Class of 2018
Email: bliu27@u.rochester.edu
Hi All! I am a sophomore with a double major in Mathematics and Business Finance with a minor in Art History. I was born in Shanghai, China. I love and enjoy ice tubing and skiing in Rochester. I love art, music, and photography, traveling, hanging out with friends on the Eastman Quad and trying out new things! Also, I am a member of the Art and Art History Council and UR Consulting. I performed in the Fan Dance at Korea Night as well as preparing and performing the Jing Hong Dance for a cultural showcase. I play secondary piano at Eastman and volunteer for the local community.

My Advice:

  1. Try out all new and fun things on campus and in the city of Rochester. Clubs, concerts, sports events, humanity courses, study abroad info sessions; the possibilities are endless! All these things will help you find your passions.
  2. Remember always embrace challenges and never be shy to ask. People's kindness and willingness to help will far exceed your expectations.
  3. Studying and living in the U.S. is not all about assimilating into a non-native language community but about bringing your own speciality and uniqueness to impact campus and the people around you.

Zhongdi Liu

Zhongdi (Andy) Liu

Class of 2018
Email: zliu49@u.rochester.edu
Hi Everyone! My name is Zhongdi (Andy) Liu from Shenyang, China. I am a rising sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently in URCSA and UR Entrepreneurship. I love running and photography. I am excited to be your ISM!

My Advice:

  1. Getting out of your comfort zone. Try something you have never done before when you arrive on campus.
  2. Talking to as many people as possible at the beginning of the semester, that's the best way to make friends.
  3. Don't feel nervous to speak English. Be friendly and attempt to speak when people try to talk to you.

Ian Manzi

Class of 2018
Email: imanzi@u.rochester.edu
Hi All! I am from Kigali, Rwanda but I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. I enjoy music, swimming, and hanging out with friends. I am part of PASA, the African Acapella Group, URCF, and Trebellious's Workshop.

My Advice:

  1. Take advantage of all available resources. Even those you don't think you need.
  2. Freshman year is a big thing and even so much more for international students. Just take it one day at a time.
  3. Academics are important but don't forget to have fun. You are here to learn much more than what you can within the four walls of a lecture hall.

Yashika Patil

Yashika Patil

Class of 2017
Email: ypatil@u.rochester.edu
Hi everyone! My name is Yashika Patil. I am a rising junior majoring in Business and Biology. I am from Mumbai, India. I am part of ADITI (Association for the Development of Interest in the India Subcontinet) as the Technical Director. I enjoy playing badminton.

My Advice:

  1. Everybody is eager to make friends, especially at the beginning of the fall semester. Don't be afraid to talk to your hall mates and classmates. They're in the same boat as you.
  2. Join lots of clubs. Attend their general interest meeting to learn about them and then decide if you want to continue being a part of it. Clubs are a great way to make friends!
  3. Use the resources on campus. There is a lot of help available. You only need to ask!

Lauren Perez

Lauren Perez

Class of 2016
Email: lperez6@u.rochester.edu
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Perez and I am a junior from Los Angeles, California. I am an English major and I am hoping to get into editing and publishing post-grad. I'm currently the Vice President of my sorority Phi Sigma Sigma and am an active member of various clubs. I love to watch movies and read books and I am constantly listening to music.

My Advice:

  1. Make friends! It may seem easier and better to stick with people you know but you can learn so much more by meeting new people.
  2. Try new foods. Rochester has so much to offer, especially food. Get out and explore!
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your professors, friends and your ISM! It never hurts to ask.

Karianne Sretavan

Class of 2018
Email: ksretava@u.rochester.edu
Hi everyone! My name is Karianne and I am a sophomore from Vancouver, Canada. I am majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology. My hobbies include hanging out with friends and traveling around the world to try new foods (and of course taking pictures of them!). Here at the U of R, I am a member of the Women's Varsity Tennis Team and a participant of various clubs.

My Advice:

  1. Keep an open mind and don't be afraid to expose yourself to new experiences!
  2. Take advantage of all the resources here at the U of R!
  3. Once in a while, take a break from your studies and do something fun! The next four years will be you best yet!

Nathaniel Woodard

Nathaniel Woodard

Class of 2017
Email: nwoodard@u.rochester.edu
My name is Nate and I'm from Buffalo, New York. I am a junior at the university. I enjoy music, sports, movies and food! This is why I am a member of Trebellioys, NJR, Wrestling Club, and Cinema Group and also why I spend so much time in the dining halls.

My Advice:

  1. Keep an opened mind and embrace new experiences
  2. Find your study place at the start of the semester (and also find some back-up places as well)
  3. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you need (and even if you don't)

Yang (Sophie) Xue

Class of 2018
Email: yxue7@u.rochester.edu
Hi! My name is Sophie and I am from Shanghai, China. I am majoring in Chemical Engineering and have a cluster in Music Theory. I am also the Fundraising Chair of the Chinese Student Association. I am a huge fan of Brit Rock and Alt Rock. I also have a slight obsession with Marvel movies.

My Advice:

  1. Make sure you know how the tunnels work! Trust me, you'll need them in the winter.
  2. When in doubt, ask! Asking does not mean you're not smart; asking means using a shortcut.
  3. This is cliche, but be open and get involved. Go to concerts, get involved in clubs, attend community weekends and so much more! Work hard and mingle well, that's the best way to make the journey worth it.

Nola Yang

Nola Yang

Class of 2018
Email: nyang8@u.rochester.edu
Hi there! My name is Nola and I am currently would like to major in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology on the pre-medical track. I am from Syracuse, NY although I have spent some time living in China and even Rochester! I love to cook, so be prepared to be fed. I'm involved in working in Wilson Commons, our student union, as a Common Marketeer selling candy and making fudge as well as a Building Manager. I'm also involved in Residential Life as a Freshman Fellow. Additionally, I also participate as a research assistant for Psychology, Anesthesiology, and the Emergency Department at the U of R. I'm really looking forward to meeting you guys and please feel free to contact me if you have questions!

My Advice:

  1. Don't fret too much about grades!
  2. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Meet new people and try lots of different things.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Always know that there are resources on campus to help you whether it is about your physical or mental health, to roommate issues, to grades, and even help with resumes and internships!

Yunshan Yang

Yunshan Yang

Class of 2017
Email: yyang60@u.rochester.edu
Hi All! I am Yang from Shenzhen, China. I love badminton, painting and singing. Currently, I'm involved with the Japanese Students' Association and the Badminton Club. I am also taking voice lessons at the Eastman School of Music. Send me a message whenever you need help and I will always respond. I have your back!

My Advice:

  1. Keep cheerful and excited. Experience new things in college.
  2. Talk to people and join in different clubs. People are waiting to meet you!
  3. Eat breakfasts, do sports, and keep fit.

James Yarberry

James Yarberry

Class of 2018
Email: jyarberr@u.rochester.edu
Hi, I'm James. I am from Virginia Beach, VA and I'm a neuroscience major. Although my main interests lie in student government, German, and music, I'm also interested in linguistics and photography. My activities include SA Government, No Jackets Required, and the Modern Languages and Cultures Council. I've also traveled to China, Korea, and Italy. I can't wait to meet everyone!

Sue Zhang

Sue Zhang

Class of 2018
Email: szhang50@u.rochester.edu
Hi everyone! My name is Sue and I am a Biomedical Engineering major. I am passionate about science and art. I was born in Fuzhou, China but I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am also Canadian. I am a part of the Undergraduate Art Council, BMES, and Engineers Without Borders

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new experiences
  2. Participate in campus activities
  3. Explore the city of Rochester

Ziyi Zhu

Ziyi Zhu

Class of 2018
Email: zzhu15@u.rochester.edu
Hello, I am Ziyi from Beijeing, China. I am a rising sophomore majoring in Neuroscience. Academically, I am passionate about the biological foundation of learning in association with brain development and I am into modernism literature. In my free time, I play a variety of sports (although not very good at most of them) and lots of card and chess games. I love to try new games and that's why I'm fascinated by the foundation of learning!

My Advice:

  1. Meet and talk to new people
  2. Say yes to opportunities
  3. Despite the old, stay energetic and passionate