Penngagement: International Student Discussion Series

Enhancing Well-Being and Success in the US

Co-sponsored by Counseling and Pscyhological Services, ISSS, & GAPSA

Penngagement is a discussion series for Penn international students to connect, interact and engage with the Penn community. It is a monthly, two-hour long program. There are a total of 10 sessions throughout the year. Each session will be hosted by a center/office/division on campus. Participants will meet with University officials, receive a tour of the facility, learn about resources and services provided by the unit, and engage in activities that teach students important skills to succeed at Penn. Light refreshment and drink will be provided.

Win a Prize!

Participants who attend at least 4 full sessions will be eligible for a prize of an iPod shuffle, those who attend at least 6 full sessions will be eligible for a prize of an FitBit Flex Wristband, those who attend at least 8 full sessions will be eligible for a prize of an iPod nano, and those attend all 10 full session will be eligible for a prize of an iPod mini.

Who should attend?
  • Undergraduate and graduate international students
  • Both students who want to come to the group on a monthly basis, as well as those who just want to drop in and see what it is about

Registration for each session opens soon! Check back for updates!

2015 - 2016 Sessions  (See Flyer)
Register for sessions here!
Date Location Topic Description

August 27


Division of Public Safety

4040 Chestnut St

Safety and Security at Penn Division of Public Safety welcomes international students to come inside our building to have a tour, meet with our police officers and staff, learn about how Penn keeps students safe, and develop skills to ensure your own safety.

September 15


Graduate Student Center (GSC)
3615 Locust Walk

Social resources and skills

Want to build your conversation and communication skills? Join us at the Graduate Student Center to learn more about how to make small talk and effectively communicate in informal, social situations. We will also give you more information about getting involved on campus!

October 21


Weingarten Learning Resource Center (WLRC)

3702 Spruce Street

Academic support and skills

How’s your semester going? Got questions about how to be successful in your studies? Join us at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center to learn more about managing your time, writing papers, reading effectively and other strategies relevant to your academic life at Penn.

November 12


Student Health Service (SHS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

3535 Market Street, Suite 100


Health and Wellness

New to the US healthcare system?  Questions about maintaining your health and using health insurance? Join us at Student Health Services! We’ll describe health and wellness services available to students at Penn and answer questions about healthcare in America. We will also discuss how your health, wellness, and success are interconnected.

December 7


International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

3701 Chestnut St., Suite 1W    215-898-4661

Home away from home

Want a community with people who share your experiences and appreciate your individuality? Want to build meaningful relationships with students and staff? Come to ISSS, your home away home, take a break before exams, and connect with each other. 

Spring 2016 Sessions      

January 28


Pan-Asian American Community House, La Casa Latina, and Greenfield Intercultural Center

3601 Locust Walk, Suite G22


Holidays and Homesickness


February 23


Career Services

3718 Locust Walk

Internship and Job Search


March 24


Penn Women’s Center (PWC)

3643 Locust Walk 215-898-8611

Healthy Relationships

Come meet the staff at the Penn Women’s Center and learn about their resources and programming.  After a short tour, PWC staff will lead participants in an interactive workshop activity designed to spark meaningful dialogue about healthy relationships.

April 6


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center (LGBT Center)

3907 Spruce Street

LGBTQ Issues

What do LGBTQ issues look like in the U.S.?  What is it like being LGBTQ and an international student at Penn?  How can you be an ally?  Join us for an interactive conversation around these issues and more.  All are welcome!
Date To Be Determined

Perry World House

End-of-Year Celebration

You made it! Whether it is about surviving your first year, or to successfully graduate from Penn, Penngagement congratulates you on your persistence, hard work, and accomplishments. Penngagement sponsors and its partners invites all international students to join us for a celebration party that honors your presence and contribution at Penn, with music, performance, food, and laughter! Prize winners will be announced.

Register for sessions here

The Penngagement Team

Yuhong He - Dr. Yuhong He is an International Specialist and a Psychologist at Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). She was born and grew up in China. She came to the U.S. to pursue advanced training in counseling psychology and thus has personal experiences of adjusting to U.S. culture and education system. She has worked extensively with international students through career counseling, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, consultation, outreach, mentoring, teaching, and research for over 10 years. At Penn, she is in charge of outreach and prevention programs to maintain and improve international students’ mental wellness at CAPS. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hakka.

Rodolfo “Rudie” Altamirano - Dr. Altamirano is the Director of International Student and Scholar Services at the University of Pennsylvania. His main responsibility is to provide overall leadership in determining and implementing organizational and campus-wide strategies including the delivery of quality services and programs to international students, scholars, faculty, staff, exchange visitors and community members. Dr. Altamirano has a doctoral degree in International Resource Development with a major in Cross-Cultural Communication. With the support of a high performing ISSS team, he has spearheaded high-level strategic initiatives for ISSS that resulted in streamlined business processes and efficient operations. He designed conceptualized, implemented, facilitated and coordinated very successful cross-cultural and academic programs. He has presented and conducted more than 300 immigration, cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution workshops, nationally and internationally, and has won accolades and awards for his presentations, including back to back “Best of Conference” Presentations.

Ryan Villanueva - Ryan Villanueva is the Program Coordinator for International Student and Scholar Services. Ryan develops and implements programs to help Penn international students adjust to their new environment and succeed in and out of the classroom. Ryan’s global travels have taken him from the southern tip of Chile to the western province of China. He enjoys the exchanging of perspectives and ideas across cultures and is dedicated to assisting to students integrate into the Penn community and experience what Penn and Philadelphia have to offer. Ryan received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Music Industry from James Madison University and a bachelor’s in Spanish Language from Virginia Commonwealth University. He studied abroad in China in 2007.


Past Topics

Spring 2015 Topics:

Effective planning and time management

Interpersonal conflicts and resolution


Job/internship search

Stress management

Managing procrastination

End of semester Happy Hour

Fall 2014 Topics:

Getting started at Penn: Adjustment and Culture Shock

Making friends with Americans at Penn  

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

Managing relationships with advisors / professors / supervisors 

Career development and job/internship search 

Wellness: What every international student should know 

Sex, romantic relationships and dating

End-of-Semester Happy Hour

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS offers freeconfidential, professional mental health services to Penn undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Our goal is to help students adjust to University life and support them in connecting to Penn’s academic and social environment. Our culturally-affirming staff works with students across many issues, including, but not limited to: making cross-cultural transitions, coping with academic stress and relationship difficulties, clarifying career interests and making career decisions, exploring sexuality and gender identity, and managing anxiety and depression. At CAPS, students can learn to address personal problems and situational crises effectively, develop self-awareness, personal responsibility, and skills for life-long learning. We are located at 3624 Market Street, open from 9-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and 9-7pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays.