As of Fall 2012, roughly 8.9% of the UH student population were immigrants (authorized to reside in the US permanently) and non-immigrants (authorized to reside in the US temporarily) from approximately 128 different countries.
International students face a variety of challenges attending school in the states including adjusting to a new culture, new language, and different academic environment. That being said, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the resources that UH have available to make this transition as stress-free as possible.
Support on Campus
- Check out events on campus! Many are free or available at a reduced price to students.
- Become involved in a student organization! There are a variety of international student organizations available.
- Take advantage of the free internet on campus to communicate with family and friends back home! Use Skype for cheaper international calling.
- Familiarize yourself with the International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSSO)!
- Become a part of the International Friendship Program to meet families and individuals in the Houston area who are interested in meeting with international students. They can help you learn more about Houston and its rich culture.
- Visit CAPS if you need to voice your concerns with a trained professional!
Culture Shock & Re-Entry Shock
Studying in another country can be a very exciting and rewarding experience. However, for some students the excitement can wane as they struggle with adjusting to their new environment or struggle adjusting upon their return to their home country. Culture shock, re-entry shock, anxiety and depression are described in the handout here.
Many of the challenges listed below affect international students. These are just a few topics a counselor may be able to help you with.
- Loneliness or homesickness
- Difficulties with roommate(s)
- Adjusting to U.S. culture and lifestyles
- Managing finances
- Academic pressure and different learning styles
- Time management to meet demands of academic, personal and familial obligations
- Career options or indecision
- Relationship difficulties
What is counseling?
For many international students, counseling may not be a common practice in his/her home country. However, in the United States, counseling is becoming more common for individuals to express their concerns in a safe, friendly, and culturally sensitive environment. Counseling allows you to talk with a trained professional about issues related to your mental or emotional health in an effort to gain greater insight about yourself, to relieve emotional distress, to make desired changes in your emotional, interpersonal, academic life, and to improve your daily functioning and satisfaction.
When to seek help
If you are having difficulty adjusting to life in the U.S. that causes you any distress, then tell someone about your symptoms. You may wish to speak with family, friends, or even a psychologist. Asking for help is not easy, but it is a sign of courage and can help you make the most of your experience here.
How do I make an appointment?
If you are interested in counseling services, simply call CAPS at 713-743-5454 to arrange a free initial consultation appointment. Appointments are available same-day or can be scheduled in advance. The initial consultation is your first appointment and is approximately 60 minutes long. If you are in need of any accommodations or assistance with completing your paperwork, please let the CAPS receptionist know at the time you are making the appointment. ). If you feel more comfortable expressing your concerns in your native language, the following languages are spoken at Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS):
- Mandarin Chinese