Penngagement International Experience Series

Enhancing Well-Being and Success in the US

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

Penngagement International Experience (PIE) Series is a year-round prevention and outreach program tailored for international students and those who have international experiences or are interested in international students’ experiences. It intends to provide these students with a welcoming and supportive platform where they can:

1) Become familiar with campus resources 
2) Interact and develop a relationship with fellow students, staff, and administrators
3) Learn important information and develop useful skills leading to success
4) Experience a sense of belonging and community.

Discuss important topics, make connections, and enjoy free food!
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All sessions take place at Perry World House (3803 Locust Walk)

Fall 2016

August 22, 4-6pm, 2016: Safety and Security at Penn
by Division of Public Safety

How do you stay safe in an open, urban, multicultural and densely-populated university environment such as Penn? Join members of the Special Services Department as we describe how the Division of Public Safety (DPS) ensures the safety and enhances the quality of life of the Penn Community. We will present an overview of the DPS services and address any questions and concerns participants might have. Participants will also get to sign up to tour our Penn Communications Center (PennComm), a state of the art communications center, located at 4040 Chestnut Street.

September 9, 3-5pm, 2016: Insurance and Healthcare in America
by Student Health Service

New to the US healthcare system? Questions about maintaining your health and using health insurance? Join Student Health Service/Campus Health as we describe health and wellness services available at Penn and answer questions about healthcare in America. We will also discuss how your health, wellness, and success are interconnected.

September 30, 3-5pm, 2016: Small Talk and Social Interactions in the U.S.
by Graduate Student Center

Want to build your conversation and communication skills? Join representatives from 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, 3-5pm, 2016: Thriving in a US Classroom
by Weingarten Learning Resources Center

How’s your semester going? Have questions about how to be successful in your studies? Join representatives from 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.

October 28, 3-5pm, 2016:  Overcoming Procrastination 
by Counseling and Psychological Services

Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor

Are you having difficulty approaching what needs to be done? Do you find yourself in crawling panic in order to finish assignments right before the deadline? You are not alone! This interactive workshop will help you understand how and why you procrastinate. You will also learn strategies to break the habit and reduce the stress associated with procrastinating on important academic and personal goals.

November 11, 3-5pm, 2016: Academic Integrity: Dos and Don'ts
by Office of Student Conduct

Make sure that you are ready for your final exams with study strategies that will help you succeed---while avoiding any violations of the University's Code of Academic Integrity. This workshop will answer all of your questions and concerns about Academic Integrity and prepare you to finish your semester strong.

All sessions take place at Perry World House (3803 Locust Walk).

Spring 2017

January 20, 3-5pm, 2017: Navigating Interpersonal Relationships in the U.S.
by Penn Women's Center

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

February 3, 3-5pm, 2017: Oops! Avoiding Social Mistakes in the U.S. 
by International Student and Scholar Services

This engaging and fun workshop will prepare you for your new social life here at Penn. Learn common U.S. cultural norms and expectations in a variety of different situations to avoid an "oops!" moment. Dr. Rudie Altamirano, Director of ISSS, a professional in the area of cross-cultural communication offers his insight and experience in adjusting to the social landscape of the U.S.

February 17, 3:30-5pm, 2017: Networking and Interview Strategies
by Career Services

Please join us for a discussion of interview do’s and don’ts, specifically as they relate to international students. This session will outline key strategies on how to prepare for an interview and ways to stand out on an initial interview and in subsequent rounds. We will discuss how networking fits into an effective job search and where to begin. You will see a demonstration of QuakerNet, LinkedIn and learn proper etiquette for reaching out to alumni. Don’t miss this informative and helpful program!

March 17, 3-5pm, 2017: Spirituality and Religions
by Office of the Chaplain


March 31, 3-5pm, 2017: LGBTQ Issues 
by LGBT Center

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!

April 14, 3-5pm, 2017: End-of-Year Celebration: #YouAreWelcomeHere

Join the Penn community in celebrating its diverse and global campus with lots of dessert pies and pizza! We want all to know that Penn is an inclusive university that is stronger in its diversity. Also making an appearance will be Chaplain Chaz Howard. Take the time to enjoy food and friends before the end of the semester.



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 international students adjust to their new environment and succeed in and out of the classroom at Penn. 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 from James Madison University and a bachelor’s in Spanish Language from Virginia Commonwealth University. He studied abroad in China in 2007.


Past Topics

  • Effective planning and time management

  • Interpersonal conflicts and resolution

  • Perfectionism
  • Job/internship search
  • Stress management
  • Managing procrastination
  • End of semester Happy Hour
  • 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

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.