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Health and support services in the US

Here’s a lowdown on the support services available for you!

It can be a little challenging to cope with the changes in your environment when you move to the USA for the first time. With a new set of customs and norms, adjusting into the culture takes some time, and you may need some assistance to absorb it all smoothly. But if you struggle to adjust, or feel alienated or unhealthy, there are a range of support services available to help you out.

In case you get hassled at any point, you can reach out to:

Pre-arrival support guide

Many institutions offer a pre-arrival support guide that includes details of medical insurance available, accommodation options, strategies to budget living expenses and other necessary details to settle in.

Campus support services

Dedicated to support international students via various orientations and programs. These may include supportive and educational workshops, cultural celebrations and academic support. Sometimes, they also help with student accommodation and employment/internship opportunities.

Student associations on campus

Most universities and colleges have their own student associations, which help international students manage their various activities along with academics. Some universities also have a dedicated international student association to offer unbiased support to students from another country.

For instance, Kent University, University of Michigan, University of Kentucky, Arizona State University, Purdue University and many more have dedicated Sri Lankan students’ organisations to meet, interact and celebrate popular festivals.

International Ambassador Program

To adjust to life on campus, many American institutions have ambassadors, who take international students on campus tours and also share their own experiences.

Student activities

To promote academic and social engagement, many American institutions organise events that provide a networking opportunity to international students. It includes cultural events, sports events, clubs, and other networking events.

Student associations off campus

Various student associations outside of campus work for the welfare of national and international students. For instance, the United States Student Association is a national representative body that works for student rights across the country.

Support for students with disabilities

Most universities and institutions offer special support to international students with disabilities, but it is best to communicate the same at the time of application to discuss if any special arrangements need to be made for you.

Specialised departments

Most US universities have specific departments to help international students on the matters relating to passport, visa, legal, university policies, procedures and services, transfer to other schools, work permission, government or agency scholarship, personal concerns, social and cultural issues, and many more.

Make sure you have a health insurance

Remember, most universities and colleges also provide health insurance facilities to international students you might have to arrange for it on your own if your institution doesn’t provide one before your departure. Discuss with your IDP counsellor for details regarding your best health insurance options in the US. 

We recommend you to get registered with a local doctor or a medical centre located in your campus when you arrive in the country. 

In an emergency

If you happen to face any emergency, call the toll free number 911. This is a common number that can be used for fire, police, ambulance or search and rescue.

Many American universities also have red boxes with SOL buttons installed within their campus. For any immediate assistance, you can press the button post and the campus security or any other designated team will reach out to help you.

A great way to come prepared to face various challenges of settling into a new country is by attending one of our pre-departure sessions, where we prepare you for your life in the US before you leave. These sessions are free to attend. Just walk into any of your nearest IDP offices to know more.

Schedule my free counselling session

Updated on July 16, 2020

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