For some international students counselling services may not be common in your home country. However, the experience of living away from home and studying in a foreign university can be very stressful.
In addition to the normal problems faced by any student, international students sometimes face difficult circumstances such as:
- pressure to achieve high marks
- feeling lonely, isolated or different
- an upsetting event or personal difficulty (for example, an accident or a family illness)
- a difficult life decision
- cultural differences.
While most international students find their time at ANU to be positive and rewarding, students sometimes experience psychological distress and/or physical health problems that may be affected by stress (such as headaches, sleep disturbance, upset stomach).
Common psychological health problems
Counsellors often help international students with homesickness, academic difficulties, relationship problems, grief, public speaking, financial pressures, exam anxiety, and stress management.
Anxiety and depression. Symptoms may include: sleep problems, loss of concentration, loss of appetite, loss of motivation and loss of confidence. Headaches, breathing difficulties, anger issues, low mood, constant worry, loneliness and isolation.
Some problems are not as common, but can be very distressing or frightening for the person experiencing them. For example:
- Extreme shifts in moods and energy levels (either 'highs' or 'lows').
- Stress following life threatening and/or terrifying experience. For example, sexual assault, physical assault, car accident or witnessing a terrifying event.
- Loss of touch with reality. For example, hearing voices, or fearing that people wish to cause the person harm.
Students sometimes worry that if they tell a doctor or counsellor about their mental health issue, they will get into trouble or be sent back home. This is not the case. Unless there are serious concerns for your or someone else's safety, no information is shared with anyone else about your condition.
Although most students don't need this, we can also arrange for assistance with translation and interpreting if required. Medical and mental health resources have been translated into a range of languages and are freely at Health translations.
Australian support resources can be found in the Counselling community services section along with support within and outside of Australia.