What do I need to know about the person’s home country, personal history or situation?

You don’t really need to know much in order to be a friend to your mentee, although Welcoming the Stranger will provide you with very basic information (e.g., country of origin) gathered from an application form completed at the outset. Most likely, as the relationship develops, your mentee may want to share personal history and stories about their past. However, some asylum seekers (like many immigrants and refugees) have experienced violence or seen family members hurt or killed. Be sensitive to this and let your mentee decide how much he or she wants to share.