Penngagement International Experience (PIE) Series

Enhancing Well-Being and Success in the US

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

  • Become familiar with campus resources PIE Series logo

  • Interact and develop a relationship with fellow students, staff, and administrators

  • Learn important information and develop useful skills leading to success

  • Experience a sense of belonging and community.


Discuss important topics, make connections, and enjoy free food!

The PIE Series is co-sponsored by:

UPenn CAPS logo   ISSS logo     

Safety at Penn & Philly

August 19, 11:30 - 12:20pm 
Location: Perry World House, 3803 Locust Walk
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.

Celebrate Being a Quaker: U.S. & International Student Mixer (CAPS, ISSS, GAPSA, AIS)

August 30, 12:00pm - 1:30pm 
Location: Perry World House, 3803 Locust Walk
Penn is a rich and diverse community of students from all over the globe! Invite a friend and get a chance to meet someone new and learn about where they are from.


Small Talk and Social Interactions in the U.S.

September 6, 12:00 - 1:30pm 

Presented by Graduate Student Center
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West
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!



Peer Panel Discussion: Top Tips for an Unforgettable Penn Experience (UA, AIS, CSSAP, GAPSA)

September 20, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West

Hear from a panel of experienced Penn students, both undergraduate and graduate, who will give their advice for making the most of the Penn experience by getting involved on and off campus. You'll get insight into how you can take advantage of your time at Penn to make it an unforgettable experience. You'll get to ask your questions and make new connections!



Professor Panel Discussion: What do Professors Expect from You? (SEAS, GSE, OSC) 

September 27, 12:00 - 1:30pm 
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West


  • Dr. Betsy Rymes, Chair of Educational Linguistics Division, GSE
  • Dr. Boon Thau Loo, Associate Dean, Master's & Professional Programs, SEAS
  • Marcia Glickman, Deputy Director, Office of Student Conduct

Are you concerned about your English in the classroom? Are you unsure what your professor is expecting of you and your classwork? Hear from a panel of professors and Office of Student Conduct staff about ways international students can increase their understanding of the Penn classroom and academic expectations. Students will also walk away with strategies to improve their academic performance.



Thriving in a US Classroom (WLRC)

October 4, 12:00 - 1:30pm 

by Weingarten Learning Resources Center
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West

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.



Stress Less, Feel Better (CAPS)

October 25, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West


In this workshop, you will learn easy, mindful strategies for identifying and reducing stress in the body and the mind. Perfect for strategies to use during the second half of the semester!



International Student Partner/Spouse/Family Reception (Family Center, GSC)

November 8, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Penn Family Resource Center,
3615 Locust Walk (Lower Level)

Presented by Family Resource Center and Graduate Student Center

All international students and their families are invited to meet others from around the globe at Penn.



International Student Study Break (CAPS, ISSS, GAPSA, AIS)

December 6, 3:00pm -5:00pm
Location: Perry World House (3803 Locust Walk)

All international students and their families are invited to meet others from around the globe at Penn.



Networking & Interview Strategies (Career Services)

January 24, 3:00 - 4:30pm

Presented by Career Services
Location: Perry World House, Global Policy Lab

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. Don't miss this informative and helpful program!


International Alumni Panel: Tips for Wellness and Success (GSE, SEAS, Wharton, Design)

January 31, 12:00 - 1:30pm

Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West

Hear from a panel of Penn alumni who will speak about their Penn experiences and beyond! You will hear about how to make the most of your time and connections at Penn, what wellness means, and priceless advice for your career search.


Dating & Romantic Relationships in the U.S.

February 14, 12:00 - 1:30pm

Presented by Council for Relationships
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West

What are the cultural norms of dating and developing romantic relationships in the US? Come to this workshop to hear the perspectives from a relationship expert from Council for Relationships who will also talk about how to navigate intercultural dating, long-distance relationship, setting healthy boundaries, and other relational concerns. Participants will leave the workshop with more knowledge and skills about forming close and intimate relationship successfully.

Presented by Council for Relationships. Ryan McMillian is a trained public speaker, family and marriage therapist, and experienced workshop facilitator. He has been featured in or presented for HuffPost, State Farm, CBS, Verizon, local radio stations, and many other reputable conferences and organizations. He has spent the past 10 years guiding couples and individuals to find their inner well of resources. He also works as a life coach and counselor at the Princeton Theological Seminary and Villanova University. After meeting his fiancée through an online dating platform and dating long distance, Ryan combines personal experience and research to address dating in the 21st century.



Managing Intercultural Conflict (ISSS)

February 28, 12:00 - 1:30pm

Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West



International Identity: Our Stories and Strengths (CAPS)

March 20, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West



Relax More, Stress Less (Campus Health)

April 10, 12:00 - 1:30pm

Location: CAPS, 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West
Presented by: Student Health Service / Campus Health

In this session, you will learn easy, mindful strategies for identifying and reducing stress in the body and the mind. Through discussion, and by participation in a guided meditation, you will be invited to connect with your senses, relax, and treat yourself with compassion and kindness. No experience with meditation is necessary.



International Student Study Break (CAPS, ISSS, GAPSA, AIS)

May 1, 12:00 - 1:30pm
Location: Perry World House, 3803 Locust Walk


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. 

  • 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

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.