International Student Discussion Series: Enhancing Well-Being and Success in the US

Co-sponsored by CAPS & ISSS

The successful and well attended discussion series of 2009 is back to offer more exciting conversations! Our walk-in discussion group provides:

  • a regular meeting place to connect with other international students
  • input from professionals about effective coping skills that would ease your adjustment 
  • strategies that would enhance your success while studying in the US
  • AND practical knowledge about US culture and customs

Meetings will be conducted in the spirit of engagement and learning from one another. The seminar leaders will provide activities, films, speakers, problem-solving suggestions and advice, and promote lively conversations.

Who should attend?

  • Undergraduate and graduate international students
  • Both students who want to come to the group on bi-weekly basis, as well as those who just want to drop in and see what it is about

When and where do we meet?

  • Every other Tuesday from 3:30pm - 5pm
  • CAPS - 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor, West

Spring 2015 Topics:


February 3: Effective planning and time management
New semester, new resolutions: How about better time management? This session, we will discuss the many different ways students use to plan and manage their time. Students will leave the workshop with effective ways identified and information about resources to help them.

February 17: Interpersonal conflicts and resolution
Experiencing difficulties in your relationships? We welcome you to come and share with us your relational struggles, whether they are with a roommate, a friend, a family member, or a professor. We would like to help you gain a better understanding about the situation and develop new strategies to address interpersonal conflicts.

March 3: Perfectionism
Are you constantly feeling dissatisfied with what was done, what you are working on, and/or how you are? Do you always want to do more or be better, but never feel like you get there? Come and join us to find out if you are among those who identify themselves as perfectionists. We will explore what perfectionism is, how it is helping us, and how it is inhibiting us. We hope to help you develop a healthier relationship with your perfectionistic tendencies.

March 17: Job/internship search
Job searching can be hard for international students! We will discuss the restrictions of your immigration status and the question of whether or not to stay in the U.S. for work or to go back to your home country.  Come to our workshop to ask the Director of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) any questions you have about immigration status for your job search. Get tips from fellow students who have gone through or are going through the job/internship search process. Learn about campus resources for success

March 31: Stress management
Are you under a lot of stress? If you have tried different ways to cope with it but still wonder if there are better ways, or if you just do not know what to do with your stress, come to our workshop. This workshop will help you gain a better understanding about stress, how it impacts us psychologically and physically. Come learn about strategies and resources to manage it.

April 14: Managing procrastination
Do you often put off what you can do now for the next hour, next day, or next week? As time passes by, do you experience an increased amount of stress and want to further avoid the task, the person, or everything? Then you feel more stressed…If you could relate to any parts of this vicious cycle, come and join us in our discussion of procrastination. Hear others’ stories and learn new ways to manage it. 

April 28: End of semester Happy Hour
Overwhelmed with studying for finals? Take a break to refresh your mind and have fun! Come and join us at the end-of-semester Happy Hour. Mingle with other international students as well as staff from the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.



Fall 2014 Topics:

August 26: Getting started at Penn: Adjustment and Culture Shock

September 9: Making friends with Americans at Penn    Handout

September 23: Living away from home: Healthy coping and managing family's expectations  Handout

October 7: Managing relationships with advisors / professors / supervisors  Handout

October 21: Career development and job/internship search  Handout

November 4: Wellness: What every international student should know  Handout 1  Handout 2  Handout 3  Handout 4

November 18: Sex, romantic relationships and dating

December 9: End-of-Semester Happy Hour



Who are we?

  • Dr. Yuhong He is a CAPS Psychologist from China with expertise in international students issues. She has personal life experience adjusting to living and studying in the U.S.
  • Dr. Rudie Altamirano is the Director of the International Student and Scholar Services. He has extensive experience conducting cross-cultural workshops and issues related to international students. He has earned his graduate degrees from a U.S. university and has been living in the United States for 30 years.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Counseling and Psychological Services offers free and confidential services to all Penn undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Their services include individual and group counseling and therapy, crisis intervention, structured workshops, psychological testing, medication reviews, and consultation. In general, their staff is experienced in working with international students. They also have an International Specialist on staff whom in collaboration with other CAPS staff and campus partners, facilitates the provision of outreach programs (e.g., International Student Discussion Series), group therapy (e.g., International Graduate Support Group), multilingual individual therapy (e.g., Mandarin and Cantonese), and consultation that are geared towards international students at Penn.

    • CAPS moved
    • CAPS moved