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International Student Support

Living and studying in a different country is exciting but not easy; international students go through a long process of adjustment and this may be stressful at times.

The INSPIRE film shares experiences of students and faculty with international backgrounds with hopes to inspire resiliency and expand perspectives of the NC State University community. The short film focuses on challenges experienced in the mind, body, emotions and behaviors; identifying supports and strategies to cope through challenges; and messages to their Wolfpack community. This film is funded by NC State’s OIED Diversity Mini-grant and the NC State University Counseling Center.

Counseling Center Services

International students have unique challenges and unique needs, and the Counseling Center offers specialized services for international students. The Counseling Center has counselors with international backgrounds who speak languages other than English.    

Going to counseling may not be common in your culture, but it is very common in the United States. Many students utilize services of the Counseling Center for many different reasons, such as stress, worrying, low motivation, sleep problems, relationship concerns, cultural differences, and so on. Students can learn coping skills to manage difficulties, share thoughts and feelings in a safe space, be empowered and find ways to get through challenges. The Counseling Center is a confidential space, which means that your family, friends, or professors would not know that you went to the Counseling Center. Students do not need to pay extra cost with a few exceptions. Learn more about Eligibility and Costs.

What is counseling? How is it helpful?

Information in Multiple Languages

Cross-Cultural Transition

As an international student, when you enter the American culture from your home country culture, you experience significant changes and gradually adapt to them in your own way. This is called “cross-cultural transition” and is an ongoing process and can be stressful.  You may experience the following phases.

You may feel fascinated with cultural differences and enjoy it as exciting and interesting experiences. 

You may feel frustrated with Americans’ behaviors, different communication and lifestyles. The American cultural norms/values may seem different from the way you know the world, which may lead to a sense of confusion. You may also feel a lack of control, fatigue, anxiety, or depression.

You may be learning more and more about American culture and also utilizing various strategies to cope with stress. You may be gradually gaining back your sense of control. 

You may settle down your position in how you relate to American culture and feel a greater sense of stability and control.  Your adaptation style may be some of the following or somewhere in between, and may have different styles in your private life and public life or in specific areas.  

  1. You follow American cultural norms, rather than your own cultural norms.
  2. You maintain your own cultural norms and distance yourself from American cultural norms.
  3. You integrate both of your own and American cultural norms together.
  4. You distance yourself from both your own cultural norms and American cultural norms.

Countless factors influence your experience in the transition.  Thus, everyone’s experience may be different.  The phases may skip, go backward, and repeat.  Please know that cross-cultural transition is a significant adjustment process that can influence your mind and body in many ways.  Please be patient with yourself and take good care of yourself.      

Campus Resources

General Interest