Peer support refers to practical, social, emotional, ongoing support from a person who shares similar experiences.
Why is peer support important for Internationals?
Peer support for people with similar life experiences (e.g., moving abroad, adjusting to life in a new country etc.) has proven to be tremendously important towards helping many move through difficult situations. In general, peer support has been defined by the fact that people who have like experiences can better relate and can consequently offer more authentic empathy and validation.
It is also not uncommon for people with similar lived experiences to offer each other practical advice and suggestions for strategies that professionals may not offer or even know about. Maintaining its non-professional vantage point is crucial in helping people rebuild their sense of community when they’ve had a disconnecting kind of experience. Additionally, social support results in psychological and physical health benefits for both the receiver and provider.
Why peer support groups and peer mentoring?
Support groups are gatherings of people who share common experiences, situations, problems or conditions. In these gatherings, people are able to mutually offer emotional and practical support.
Peer mentors are individuals who have coped with similar experiences of adjusting to life abroad and can meet one-on-one with community members to listen, discuss concerns and provide support