Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)


Getting support from a mentor can be extremely helpful for international researchers as they adjust to life in a new country. There are a few types of mentoring you could consider offering at your institution.

One-to-one mentoring

The benefits of a one-to-one mentoring relationship are:

  • Supportive relationship in which to explore and progress professional development goals
  • Opportunity to learn from a more experienced colleague(s)
  • Tailored support and guidance appropriate to the researcher’s situation/career stage
  • Confidential and objective discussions.

Mentoring Circles

A Mentoring Circle is a group consisting of Circle Mentors and a group of participants (Mentees) that meet to discuss professional experiences and challenges in a supportive peer group as well as with more experienced colleagues.

The Circle Mentor’s key role is to listen and facilitate. Circle meetings allow the participants an opportunity to talk and share their experiences, issues, hopes and fears with other international researchers in similar careers.

For more guidance on establishing a mentoring scheme, please see this guide from the Oxford Learning Institute (PDF).


Participants from the HEIM interviews made the following observations about mentoring schemes:

‘Well, Y was my mentor, and she made everything very comfortable and friendly. So I felt I always could ask her or come with my questions.’ (Female, Austrian)

‘Mentorship is always nice because you form a bond with someone you can then also go back to, and question, and seek advice from as well.’ (Female with mixed Angolan-Portuguese heritage)

‘When you talk about mentoring, I think it’s important to connect people with real local people, real local academics, rather than… You know, you could be mentored by another international academic who’s almost as much of a foreigner or at sea as you are. And although that’s nice because you can say gosh I don’t understand what these people are doing locally, but that’s kind of an alienating thing isn’t it. I think it’s much more important that you have someone who is a local as your mentor, a real local. Not necessarily on the basis of race, but someone who actually… Who really integrated into that society. And then you’re much more likely to understand where you’re working I think.’ (Male, British)

‘What has been very, very important for me was kind of, mentoring and support of other Roma scholars, especially those who are accomplished you know, who are professors, who have published extensively[.]’ (Female, Polish Roma)