Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I hope everyone has enjoyed some of the older biographical articles I posted from the 2014-15 year - there will be more of these to come focusing on our students, staff, and faculty.

This week I am pleased to present an article written by Dr. Barry A. Schreier, director of University Counseling Services.  This gives an excellent overview of the types of situations your students can talk to UCS about. As Dr. Schreier mentions, we realize this may not be a normal resource for many of our international students, but I hope they can be willing to try UCS should they ever need assistance or someone to talk to.  I can't tell you how many students I know UCS has helped over the years, many of whom were initially hesitant about going there.

University Counseling Services Logo
by Dr. Barry A. Schreier, Director of University Counseling Services

Mariko came to the University of Iowa from Kyoto, Japan.  It was Mariko’s first time living outside Japan and was the first time she had been to the U.S.  Everything was going well at the beginning as orientation was exciting, there were new people to meet, and new classes to understand.  It was fun trying new foods, learning more English words, and living in a city that was all new!  Then school became more difficult, Mariko’s mother told her that her brother was having difficulty in his marriage and everyone at home was feeling upset about it, and Mariko started having conflicts with her roommate.  What started out as new, exciting, and fun became stressful and confusing.  Mariko tried to talk to her friends but worried because they all were doing better than her and she was embarrassed to share she was struggling.  Mariko was not sure what to do to help herself feel better.

Coming to the U.S. is an exciting new adventure.  Interesting experiences to have, new people to meet, and unknown things to understand.  If all goes well, things will be happy.  If things to do not all go well, it can be easy to be sad, nervous, stressed, or even mad.  Being far from home, can make feeling unhappy more difficult because you may feel you cannot talk to anyone about what is upsetting whether they are people you know from home or people you know from the U.S.

The University of Iowa knows this and that is why there is the University Counseling Service (UCS).  Heard of counseling? No?  You are not alone! Many international students are not familiar with counseling because it is not common in some countries and cultures. In your country, it may not be customary to talk about personal or family concerns with someone who is unknown to you. In the U.S., however, it is common to seek help from professional counselors when you are having difficulties. University of Iowa students see professional counselors at the UCS as professional counselors are experts on emotions and situations that cause difficulties.  Seeking expert opinion is a good way to find new ideas; discover solutions you have not thought of; or to connect with someone who cares, is interested in you, will not judge you, and can help you do well in school and in your relationships.  Some reasons International Students come to the UCS while they are in the U.S. include:

  • Stress related to academic work
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Understanding and adjusting to U.S. culture
  • Lack of confidence in English language ability
  • Feeling lonely and isolated
  • Trouble making new friends
  • Difficulties with family members at home
  • Trouble with roommates
  • Concerns related to dating and break-up of romantic relationship
  • Choosing a major
  • Deciding a future career path
  • Financial pressure
  • Struggles with being positive about yourself
  • Feeling sad/depressed
  • Feeling anxious/worried/stressed

An important thing to know is in the U.S. there are laws that protect your information you tell a UCS counselor.  Neither your friends, your teachers, nor anyone else can find out what you talk about.  It is private between you and your counselor.  Sometimes International students worry counseling can affect their immigration status.  Due to privacy rules, not even someone involved with immigration can have information about what you talk about at the UCS.  UCS services are also provided at no cost to you.  We also can do counseling in English, Mandarin, and Spanish.

You can come once or you can come more than once.  You decide this.  It is easy to come to the UCS.  Just call us at 319.335.7294 and say “I would like to make an appointment to speak to a counselor.” We will ask if you have ever come to the UCS before and then we will work with you to find a time when you can come. Find out more about us by visiting the UCS Website and meet each one of us on our website by clicking on Our Staff Page.

Mariko decided to come see us and you can too!  We look forward to meeting you!

University Counseling Services Staff