Support system for and by students

Being a student in a big city is not always easy. Maybe you are experiencing exam nerves, have a lot to do or simply need someone to talk to? Through one-on-one conversations, a facebook chat and social events SiO's newly started Peer Support project will be there to help!

For the first time in Oslo and as the second place in Norway, the Student Initiative Grant and SiO Health introduce a Peer Support service.

Students helping co-students

Peer Support, as the name implies - is a person equal, or in the same position as oneself.

- That is why we have engaged volunteering students to be Peer Supporters. Students know best where the shoe pinches, explains advisor at SiO Health, Siri Anette Hansen.

Through the Peer Support program, you will be able to get help with study-related questions, but also everyday challenges that may arise.

I can imagine there will be a lot of questions about campus and student life, such as where the library is or how to postpone exams, but also other things, we are here to help, Siri informs.

She explains that Peer Supporters have professional training courses to be ready to take on the role.

LEADER: Advisor at SiO Health and subproject leader: Siri Anette Hansen.
LEADER: Advisor at SiO Health and subproject leader: Siri Anette Hansen.

- If we receive any inquiries that appear a little more challenging, Peer Support can be the first point of contact for further inquiries. We at SiO Health will then be available and guide you further, she explains.

A common desire and motivation to help

Saturday 6th November, the Peer Supporters met for a network gathering. Both to get to know each other and for a lecture with Elin Akre Trønnes about leadership.

She conveyed wise words. Especially about how a Peer Supporter should not or can not solve other people's problems. Their role is to help a person to get the right tools to solve their own.

TRAINING: Elin Akre Trønnes courses the Peer Supporters in leadership.
TRAINING: Elin Akre Trønnes courses the Peer Supporters in leadership.

One of the peer supporters is project employee Jana Tolstjakova, she is a master student at the University of Oslo. She explains that it varies what the Peer Supporters study, and there are no requirements for any formal background or education. The thing they have in common is a desire and motivation to help others.

Those who have applied have conveyed experiences and tips, and want to help others in the same situation as they were in, she explains.

The Peer Supporter community should be social and nice to everyone involved.

- That is why we have gatherings. It will provide a good collaboration between the supporters and create a pleasant environment among colleagues, Siri adds. 

The project has received financial support to employ students responsible for recruitment at the various educational institutions. Being a Peer Supporter is a voluntary assignment. 

Both Jana and Siri hopes this can be a long-term project, also in the time after 1st of March, the due date to which they have received financial support.

Normalize and shed light on

They have heard positive things about the initiative at Nord University in Bodø, which is the first and until now only place in the country that offers the same service.

Peer Support will have an Facebook chat that will be staffed until 8 pm every day, one-on-one conversations and various social activities including events.

- It is important to have good meeting places. It might feel a little embarrassing to go to events alone. At ours, this it will be the intention, Jana explains.

WISH TO HELP: Peer Supporter and project employee Jana Tolstjakova.
WISH TO HELP: Peer Supporter and project employee Jana Tolstjakova.

- I think this measure will make a difference for people. It will help to normalize and shed light on that it is okay and common to go trough tougher times, and it is important to talk about it, Siri adds.

Operative now

All Peer Supporters have received the necessary training, Siri explains, who proudly announce that the Peer Support service is already operational.

Want to try the Peer Support Service?

Click here to get to the Facebook page. 

Wanna become a Peer Supporter? There are ongoing admissions, and you can apply here!