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Welcome to My World: Life in the U.S. through an International Student Lens Xuhua Qin, Yun-Jy Yeh, & Sharon Mitchell University at Buffalo.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to My World: Life in the U.S. through an International Student Lens Xuhua Qin, Yun-Jy Yeh, & Sharon Mitchell University at Buffalo."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to My World: Life in the U.S. through an International Student Lens Xuhua Qin, Yun-Jy Yeh, & Sharon Mitchell University at Buffalo

2 Why international student programming is needed Over the past 20 years, number of IS studying in the US has increased 74% (Institute of International Education, 2004) Typical concerns: include adjustment to new culture, language barriers, social isolation, loneliness, unfamiliarity with academic expectations and financial concerns 17% of all students at UB (Fall, 2009)

3 Public Health Approach Systems-level intervention focused on prevention and education Stigma and lack of understanding of mental health systems means focus shouldnt be only on counseling Collectivist cultures of many IS students make this an appropriate approach

4 Program Goals Increase awareness of international students well-being on campus Provide an avenue for international students to express their feelings about their journey in the U.S. Integrate international students and domestic students Inform campus about Student Wellness Team and services

5 Identifying Partners Student Wellness Team Counseling Services Wellness Education Health Services Others on campus International Student Scholar Services English Language Institute Intercultural Diversity Center Departments (e.g., Counseling Psychology, Visual Studies) International student organizations Alumni Association

6 Marketing and Promotion Efforts Posters E-newsletter to international students E-newsletter to mentoring program participants Contact with different offices & departments Emails to student organizations Contact with photo contest participants Emails to previous events participants Facebook School newspaper article Personal connections

7 Program Components Welcome to my World: International Student Photo Exhibit Wellness Information & Interactive Games Health Screenings Smoking Cessation Survey & Information Tea Bar – Teas of the World Succeeding in the U.S. Panel Discussion


9 International Student Photo Exhibit Goals: reflect the journey, share the experience, celebrate the adjustment, and learn different perspectives 35 students submitted photos 6 judges from SWT Top 15 were in the exhibit 320 people participated in the Photo Contest Voting



12 Photo Contest Quotes Being an international student is almost like having two identities. You identify with your culture and things that seem natural to you, yet you find it slipping away as you assimilate yourself to a new culture and way of life. One must find that bridge that allows you to cross easily from one to the next without severing the connection between who you were and who you will become. I thank my parents for allowing me the opportunity to find my balance, without forcing me to adhere to the norms I grew up with. I was given the opportunity to cross over into a new country and experience all the American way of life had to offer. I am still filled with pride for my home country yet I love living in the United States. It seems to me that I have built myself a sturdy bridge.

13 Photo Contest Quotes (con.) Share the excitement and adventures Discover the cultural difference Notice the commonality across cultures Experience diversity Feel privileged to be in the U.S. Acknowledge the challenges and hardship Develop new identity Insights of adjustment

14 Wellness Information & Health Trivia Games 240 people participated in the Plinko - Health Trivia contest Goal: educate the student, assess their knowledge base, provoke thinking, evaluate some high risk behaviors, and inform services Active Minds Table SWT information


16 Smoking Cessation 88 people took the UBreathe Free Survey Goal: Obtain info to guide smoking cessation programming for international students -learned 20% are smokers -majority support the UBreathe Free policy


18 Health Screenings Goal: To raise the awareness of preventive medicine because IS students tend to use services only when ill 36 people took the rapid glucose and rapid cholesterol screening tests 4-5 students with low blood sugar 2 students with high cholesterol Immediate education & intervention


20 Succeeding in the U.S. - Panel Discussion Goals: To help international student understand and normalize the challenges they may encounter in the U.S., to provide the strategies they can use to overcome the challenges Panelists: students from India & Iran; professor from Hong Kong; & alumni from India 25 people attended the panel discussion


22 What Worked & What Didnt Opportunity to involve IS in this Active Minds Reaching out to student organizations Partnering with others on campus Timing and planning issues Location of event Photos drew people in Incentives & prizes !!!

23 Part of on-going outreach Workshop: "Learning about American Culture" Workshop: "What to expect in American Classrooms" Workshop: "Returning to My Country" "Diversity Issues - Vietnamese Student Association "Suicide Prevention and Awareness for Asian Americans" - Asian American Student Union International student mentoring program Spouse Orientation for International Students Taste of Asia International Student Discussion Group

24 Future Goals and Directions English Language Institute students to participate in IS discussion group Photos to be used at IS orientation Focus on opportunities for IS and domestic students to interact; learn about each other (e.g. International Summer Festival)

25 Customizing this to your campus What are the needs on your campus? What part(s) of this program might fit for your campus? What might be the challenges of IS outreach on your campus? Resources? Interest?

26 Thank you For more info on International Student Programs and Services visit: Contact Xuhua Qin at Contact Yun-Jy Yeh at Contact Sharon Mitchell at

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