International Students

How do health services work?

Being seen by a medical provider at Student Health Services is FREE to all currently enrolled Caltech students. However, if you need additional care or treatment such as medication, lab work, imaging or referrals - there may be a cost involved. Your insurance will cover part of that cost and you may be expected to pay a co-pay. If you have concerns about the cost of treatment, please speak with your medical provider to determine the best choice for you. For the most accurate information on healthcare costs, please speak with your insurance provider.

Our UnitedHealthcare Insurance Liaison is Kevin C. Lee who is available to answer any questions you may have about the student health insurance plan.

Why go to counseling?

International students seek counseling for many of the same reasons that U.S. American students do, regarding issues such as academics and research, relationships, identity, family, or career. What is different for international students is the additional pressure of language concerns, cultural adjustment, or forming relationships with persons who are culturally different.

Before we can answer why you may find counseling helpful, let us first understand the cultural challenges of seeking help. All students at some point in their college career experience a wide range of emotional reactions to changes, such as anxiety, fear, or depression. These are normal feelings that people experience just as part of being human. Sometimes these feelings can continue and interfere with learning and personal growth.

In the United States, seeking out psychological counseling is a common way to get help understanding and solving personal problems. In many cultures, seeking a counselor is generally not the first choice for students. In some families, a young person may consult with a friend or religious leader. While these are avenues of help, they do not address concerns in the same way a counselor does.

Counselors at Caltech Student Counseling Services are trained to help students find solutions that are sensitive to cultural and religious values. Counseling Services counselors have worked with international students for many years and know that Caltech students come from very different cultural traditions. A counselor does not judge students, is patient, and is trained to be a sensitive, objective listener who works with students to help find them solutions.

What kinds of problems do students discuss at counseling?

  • Academic problems - adjusting to a new system, not being able to understand the professor, not doing as well as expected, being unable to keep up with class assignments
  • Cultural adjustment - stress, anxiety, changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • U.S. Americans - how to meet them, how to understand them, how to get along with them
  • Financial or time management issues
  • Roommate concerns - how to express your rights, make rules, set boundaries
  • Dating issues or concerns regarding sex or sexuality
  • Feeling misunderstood if English is a second language
  • Unexplained health problems
  • Worries about what is happening with friends and family back home
  • Concerns about life after Caltech
  • And many more reasons!