Mentorship Beyond Boundaries: Exploring Virtual and Cross-cultural Mentorship Opportunities

Nurturing potential through mentorship means exploring different ways to offer guidance and support to mentees. Particularly for mentees from diverse backgrounds, cross-cultural and even virtual mentorship opportunities can aid in creating a successful experience. Below you will discover some of the key strategies to enhance mentorship connections.

Explore Cross-Cultural Mentorship

Did you know that mentorship experiences can help create a more inclusive culture that celebrates differences? The key is to be intentional about mentorship pairings. Cross-cultural mentorship experiences, which pair individuals from diverse backgrounds in mentor-mentee relationships, are critical to achieving a positive outcome. In these scenarios, student mentees can seek input and gain support from individuals whose perspectives may be outside of their cultural norms. Likewise, mentors can develop greater understanding and empathy by working with students whose circumstances may differ significantly from their own. 

With racial equity and continuous learning as key organizational values, OhanaHC strives to make cross-cultural mentorship part of our students’ experiences. We are intentional about helping mentors and mentees from different backgrounds engage in meaningful connections that serve each other and the community. Our mentees meet with several different mentors during their high school experience to expand their viewpoints and skill sets.

Use Virtual Resources to Build Connections

Most mentorship interactions occur in traditional, face-to-face settings. But in the wake of a pandemic that forced nearly everyone to embrace technology more than ever before, virtual mentorship has emerged as a popular alternative to in-person meetings. And for individuals with packed schedules, technology makes mentorship opportunities that might otherwise not have been possible a reality. 

With virtual mentorship, many of the key elements of a successful relationship remain the same. Mentors and mentees still establish expectations, engage in active listening, set goals, and adhere to a schedule. Virtual mentoring, however, enables greater flexibility for both parties. As long as the mentor and mentee have access to a stable internet connection and computer camera, they can meet remotely and speak candidly. And in some instances, virtual mentoring can serve as a convenient supplement to in-person meetings. 

Nurturing Potential Through Mentorship Can Take Multiple Forms

While traditional forms of mentorship are effective, changing approaches adds an extra benefit to a student’s experience. For students engaged in virtual mentorship, learning to become comfortable communicating while on camera is a useful skill that will help them with job and educational interviews. For students in cross-cultural mentorship scenarios, learning from mentors with diverse backgrounds and perspectives creates greater understanding, patience, and respect. The same can be true for the mentors working with students who face significant obstacles or lack resources.

At OhanaHC, we connect high school students and community members from diverse backgrounds with mutually beneficial mentorship opportunities. We always are seeking new mentors to lend their perspectives and guidance to our missions. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at so we can tell you more about how to get involved!

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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