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Counseling Services for International Students


International student counseling video:

Counseling…what is it?

Have you heard of counseling or psychotherapy? If not, you are not alone! Many international students are not familiar with counseling because it is not a common practice in some other countries and cultures. In the United States, it is common to seek help from professional counselors when you experience difficulties in school, work and life. When you talk to a counselor, she/he can listen and understand your thoughts and feelings, provide you with feedbacks and work with you to develop new skills to resolve the challenges you are facing. Counselors can also advocate for you, make further referrals and help you to connect with other on-campus and off-campus resources.

How can counseling be helpful to me?

Life in the U.S. can be exciting and at the same time, challenging. Many international students choose to talk to their friends and family when they experience challenges in their lives. However, there are times when your friends are too busy, when you feel that your parents can’t really understand, when you don’t want others to worry about you, when you need somebody who can listen but you don’t know who to turn to, when you have tried everything on your own but nothing really works. Counseling center is a safe place where you might want to ask for help. International students come to counseling centers for a wide range of reasons.

Some common examples are:

  • 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 back home
  • Trouble with roommates
  • Concerns related to dating and break-up of romantic relationship
  • How to choose major
  • How to decide on future career path
  • Financial pressure
  • Struggles with self-esteem
  • Feeling sad/depressed
  • Feeling anxious/worried

What is confidentiality?

Counseling services provided by the counseling staff members are private and confidential (www.counseling.msu.edu/students/confidentiality). What the students choose to share with their professional counselor is protected by law. The counselor will not be able to release any information about you to other people without your written permission. Information you shared with the counselor will NOT go into your academic record unless you made a written request. However, when your life or others’ lives are in danger, or when a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of being harmed, or when the court is requesting the records by law, the counselor is required to break the confidentiality. If you have any question/concerns about confidentiality, your counselor will provide you with more information during your first meeting.

Who would I be talking to?

Counseling professionals include licensed counselors, licensed psychologists, licensed social workers and doctoral/master level trainees (www.counseling.msu.edu/our-staff/counseling_center_staff). We have staff members who can provide counseling in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese.

How much does counseling cost?

Counseling can be expensive in the U.S.. However, any full-time MSU student who is currently enrolled in classes is eligible for free Counseling Center services. Students may receive up to 8 free individual sessions over the academic year. In addition to meeting with counselors individually, the counseling center also offer a wide selection of group counseling (www.counseling.msu.edu/services/group). Groups are always free and there is no session limit. If you need medication, we will also make referrals to psychiatrist at Olin Health Center and Olin Health Center will work with your insurance to figure out the cost (www.counseling.msu.edu/services/psychiatry).

How do I make appointment?

You can call 517-355-8270 or directly walk-in during our office hours:
Fall & Spring: Monday-Tuesday 8am-7pm ; Wednesday-Friday 8am-5pm
Summer: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

Our office locates at:
207 Student Services Building
East Lansing, MI 48824
http://maps.msu.edu/interactive/index.php?location=ssb

I still have some questions…

No problem, if you still have other questions regarding counseling, please call 517-355-8270 or visit our website at: www.counseling.msu.edu. If you are in an emergency crisis: www.counseling.msu.edu/emergency.

Related links and resources

Counseling Center Pamphlet
Transition Experiences: Adjusting to a New Culture brochure
(PDF)*
Counseling Center web site

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.

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