The Counseling Center at the University of Oregon would like to welcome you to Eugene and to our campus. Studying abroad is an exciting adventure as well as a major life transition. For many of you this is the first time away from home. While you may be looking forward to all the opportunities that come with living in a foreign country, you may also feel apprehensive about the many unknowns.
Challenges of Adjusting
Before you left your country, you may have wished to be more independent of your family. Now perhaps you find yourself left alone too much. You may encounter too many choices, too much freedom, too little direction and guidance. You may feel disoriented by the different sights, smells, sounds and tastes. American values, traditions and habits may be confusing. You may wonder how you will make friends and how to communicate with others; you may worry about your academic performance and you may feel uncertain about how to spend your free time especially on weekends.
Your parents, siblings and friends are not here. Your favorite foods and places to go are not available for your comfort. You might worry about your family at home and fear that you might become a disappointment to them. Your self-confidence may drop because you might compare yourself to American students. You might expect yourself to do as well academically as native speakers. Add to that the pressure of needing to study in a foreign language, possible misunderstandings with professors and roommates, and you have all the ingredients of stress.
When living at home you may have many helpful strategies to deal with difficult situations but these may not be available to you now. As a result you may feel that you are all alone with your problems and that there is no one to talk to.
The Counseling Center Can Help
The Counseling Center is here to help you with many of the difficulties you might encounter. We have a staff of licensed professionals and graduate level trainees who are knowledgeable, caring, and sensitive to the needs of international students. Please call (541) 346-3227 to schedule a meeting with a counselor and get started at the Counseling Center. No problem is too big or too small. In the past, international students have found it helpful to talked about:
- wanting to clarify American customs
- being afraid that their English is not good enough
- worrying about being a failure or disappointment to their parents
- feeling homesick
- experiencing culture shock
- experiencing cultural oppressions
- feeling upset over the break-up of a romantic relationship
- feeling conflict regarding their own needs versus those of their parents
- having difficulties getting up and going to classes because of feelings of depression
- having problems with eating, body image and self-esteem
- feeling afraid that others don't like them
What Counseling Means in America
When a person talks to a therapist in other countries, it may mean that a person has a "big" mental problem. It does not mean the same thing in the U.S. Here it is quite common that a person consults with a therapist for a wide range of concerns. Most people here actually believe that meeting with a therapist is a good thing. In fact, many believe that discussing personal matters with a therapist reveals strength and courage rather than weakness or defect. It is a way to take care of oneself and to prevent physical and mental health problems, like having regular check-ups with your physician. Here at the Counseling Center, we offer brief individual and group counseling. Counseling is confidential and free to students.
We hope this information is helpful and that we will have a chance to get to know many of you.