While it is common for college students to experience stress while on campus, it is important to know that studying abroad may compound this stress due to the natural challenges of living and studying in a foreign country/culture. This page offers students advice on how to prepare for their study abroad experience as well as how to access counseling services while abroad.
Students who participate in regular counseling to help manage stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions should plan ahead for their semester abroad:
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call the local emergency number (equivalent to 911) provided to you at your on-site orientation. More information can be found here. If you have experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, or are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, 24-hour emergency support services are available to all students. Please call the local 24-hour emergency number, which will be provided to you at your on-site orientation upon your arrival. SU Abroad center staff are ready to provide immediate assistance during times of crisis. You can always call the SU Abroad home office for immediate assistance as well: 011-315-443-3471.
While SU Abroad center locations do not have counseling centers on-site, staff at the centers can refer students to English-speaking counselors in the local community. It is common for students studying abroad to experience stress, home sickness, and other forms of culture shock. SU Abroad center staff will be happy to speak confidentially with you and provide you with a counseling referral.
An emergency can occur anytime. In some instances of severe emotional disturbance, an immediate response is necessary for the well-being of the student or others. In an emergency, call the respective SU Abroad emergency phone number or the SU Abroad home office, 001-315-443-3471.
Students or faculty may worry that their friend/student is experiencing difficulty coping with stress and/or other mental health conditions while abroad. We encourage students and faculty to speak to an SU Abroad staff member and/or refer the student to seek assistance.
Consider referring a student to the SU Abroad staff if you notice:
If you notice any of these warning signs, the best way to make a referral is to inform the student of your concern in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner. Be specific regarding the behavior patterns you have observed. At this point, suggest that he/she consider personal counseling and refer the student to the designated SU Abroad staff member for assistance. If the student agrees to the referral, you may:
Except in emergencies, the option should be left open for the student to accept or refuse a referral for counseling.
"I'm concerned about you because..."
Below are some responses to common student statements:
"I'm not crazy." Reassure the student that most of the students who receive counseling are looking for help with common everyday problems and concerns, and are not "crazy."
"I can take care of it on my own." Point out that therapists don't do things for you or tell you what to do, they help you discover what's not working and how you might make things better for yourself.
"But I don't want anybody to know." Explain to the student that the counseling referrals are kept as confidential as possible.
The Syracuse University Counseling Center provides information on these topics on their website.