University of Iowa

In the news: UI tries to relieve int'l stress

March 7th, 2017
A UI student studies at the IMU for upcoming finals on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. The IMU provides students with a number of events and free things to relieve finals stress, including coffee, popcorn, and massages.

A UI student studies at the IMU for upcoming finals on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. The IMU provides students with a number of events and free things to relieve finals stress, including coffee, popcorn, and massages. 

By Isabella Senno, The Daily Iowan

Midterms week can be stressful, but for some international students it may just be a small part of a larger problem.

International students are among those more likely to experience higher levels of stress and less likely to seek out professional help for improving mental health.

“For international students, we have to consider [that] we’re living in a foreign country right now, we have to spend time getting used to the environment and sometimes it takes a longer time for some people,” said Jingwen Liu, the president of the Heart Workshop, a student organization centered on mental health. “We also have to get used to the language and the environment, the culture barriers, and there are more things to consider.”

Scott Liu, staff psychologist at the University Counseling Service, said besides having to build connections in a new culture, the lack of an easily accessible traditional support system may also heavily affect international students.

“We are studying here without family support, without old friends, so that’s an issue,” Jingwen Liu said. “Sometimes [international students] believe they can solve everything themselves, but the reality is that they can’t.”

There are also cultural differences that affect how and when some international students may ask for help with their mental health.

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