Mental Health While Abroad

Students with the chance to study abroad get the opportunity for an exciting, adventurous, and sometimes life-altering experience while in university. The thought of international education while living in a new country and meeting new people can be thrilling for some, yet overwhelming for others. For students with pre-existing mental health issues, the thought of studying abroad may be more toward the overwhelming side. Yet, this shouldn’t be the case! Here’s why:

*** Included is many links to other University and Country websites, from these resources, take away what applies to you***

1. You won’t be the first student who has a mental health problem or illness to study abroad internationally. There are plenty of stories from students online who can attest to the benefits from an exchange on their mental health.

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Originally posted by amymariestad

2. There are also stories from students who have had negative experiences while on exchange. However, by recognizing that mental health may be an issue for you, there are plenty of steps and resources to help you plan and live abroad positively.

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Originally posted by onbathroomwalls

From this^^^^^^^

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Originally posted by gurl

To this^^^^^^^^^

Check out these online resources for more info:

http://studyabroad.uark.edu/health-and-safety/health-and-wellness/mental-health.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-quigley-md-dphil/mental-health-study-abroad_b_2852843.html

3. Most students gain a new perspective on their lives during or after their exchange, and it can in some cases be beneficial to your mental health. Here is one example from a student studying abroad in Africa:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113846968

4. Proper planning for yourself, recognizing ways of coping with mental illness abroad, and having the proper support in place in case you need it while abroad will help ensure you are well prepared for your exchange. Here are some other great links to help prepare:

http://www.northwestern.edu/studyabroad/guide/health-and-safety/health/mental-health-abroad.html#links

https://educationabroad.global.usf.edu/_customtags/ct_FileRetrieve.cfm?File_ID=010F767D754F740204030507000B1C700C7B7714737B02036E010303067D070B7603057D047B730676

http://www.thirdyearabroad.com/advice-and-tips/health-and-fitness/item/1376-mental-health-issues.html

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Originally posted by charleshuettner

5. There are a lot of online resources aimed at helping students with pre-existing mental health issues, or any that may surface while on exchange. Here are some more sources with some great tips and information for students:

http://www.miusa.org/resource/tipsheet/15mentalhealthpreparations

If these reasons don’t convince you, try taking a look at other websites and blog spots for other reasons mental health is an important issue with a large number of students, and why it shouldn’t hold you back!

Ultimately, it is your choice whether or not you go on exchange. But if you do decide it’s right for you, you will never forget your experience while studying abroad for the rest of your life. For Thompson Rivers University students, don’t forget that all resources at the Kamloops campus will be available to you as an exchange student while you are abroad. These include:

-The Wellness Centre resources online and email

-TRU Counselling services: http://www.tru.ca/counselling.html

TRU Counselling is available before you depart to talk about ways to maintain your mental health abroad. They are available by phone, email, or Skype to support students who are away. Here is a great self-check link to assess your own status before you leave: http://mindcheck.ca

As well, don’t forget to talk with the folks at the TRU Study Abroad Office for other resources available to TRU students while on exchange! Once accepted, students will have access to a Moodle site which will include lots of other helpful tips on Mental Health and other issues for exchange students. So get going 🙂

Good luck!

-Aaren

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