It is a challenging, stimulating, and sometimes difficult process to leave home and live in a different country and culture. You leave not only family and friends but also familiar foods, climate, customs, attitudes, and languages. As every culture has different rules about appropriate behavior, social norms, and expectations, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when attempting to adjust to so many new and different things at the same time. The Education USA website has a lot of helpful information about US culture and customs and adjusting to life in the United States. Additional information can be found on the NAFSA and AIEF website on studying and living in the United States. Although it was created primarily for Chinese students, much of the information and advice it offers is applicable to students and scholars from all countries.
Counseling & Psychological Services
133 S. 36th St., 2nd Fl.
A confidential helpline (via both telephone and online) run by Penn student volunteers
Tel: 215-573-2RAP or 215-573-2727, 9pm - 1am
Penn offers a wide array of clubs and organizations representing many interests. The Graduate Student Center has descriptions of the numerous campus organizations. In addition, the Office of Student Affairs maintains a list of several categories of organizations including academic, performing arts, religious, community service and international. Some clubs and organizations are oriented toward undergraduate students while many welcome graduate students and visiting scholars.
If your family is with you here in Philadelphia, you may find that your social life revolves around your family and their activities. Some students and scholars live on campus, and this arrangement can develop into a close community of people in similar situations. You may trade baby-sitting chores or participate in activities with other families that give you the chance to develop friendships. Please refer to Pre-Arrival Information and Resources for Families for more information.