International Educator - November/December 2011 - S11

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EDUCATOR
H E A LT H & I N S U R A N C E S U P P L E M E N T

International

Their Baggage Goes, Too
Mental health issues don’t stay behind when students go abroad. But good preparation can help lessen the potential for negative impacts.
BY KAREN LEGGETT

college student being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety was participating in an education abroad program in Kenya. In an essay that aired on NPR, the young woman spoke of visiting a Masai tribal village. “The Masai were warm and welcoming and wanted to give us something to remember them by, so they cut a strip of (goat) hide for everyone in my group to wear as a bracelet. They didn’t clean or dry the hide before tying it on my wrist…All I could do was look up at my friend and say, ‘Do you know how many medications I am on to be able to do this?’”
Not too many years ago this student might have never considered studying abroad at all. Yet even as the number of college students with mental health issues has risen—rates of depression among college students have doubled since 1998—more of these students are able to be successful on campuses at home while education abroad programs are increasingly finding ways to help them be successful overseas. “Many students are now able to study in higher education due to better therapy, better medication, better resources,” says Ines DeRomana, who works in safety/security and health affairs with the University of California Education Abroad Program. “It’s not surprising that the pattern of mental health issues is the same at home or abroad.” Those patterns include alcohol, depression, suicide, psychosis, or eating disorders. “Anything that manifests itself on campus will reproduce abroad,” continues DeRomana. “We need to plan and prepare for that.” That planning and preparation must include students from the moment they first begin contemplating an overseas adventure to faculty who will
SHUTTERSTOCK

Preparing Students
Preparation begins with encouraging students to disclose a preexisting mental health condition and be prepared to discuss concerns that arise overseas. “Students associate a stigma with a mental health condition, but if you were sick, I wouldn’t send you abroad without insulin,” says Arlene Snyder, director of health, safety, and security at Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies. “Students need to understand the decisionmaking tree. You are not using information to exclude.” The goal is to identify ways to include and support students, not screen them out. Early screening and disclosure should enable the best decisions to be made, beginning with when to go abroad, which program to choose, and what supports are needed for success. Would it be best for the student to be in one place or could he handle being on a ship at sea or moving to a different country every three or four weeks? Could the student be in a remote village or does she need to be able to meet with an English-speaking therapist once a week? Is the student’s condition stable or is he still working on adjusting medications? If the student is in a 12-step recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous, is there a chapter in the host country?
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR 20 12 H E A LT H & I N S U R A N C E S U P P L E M E N T

accompany them, to resident advisers, and even to host families.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2011

International Educator - November/December 2011
Contents
From the Editors
In Brief
Cultivating Branch Campuses
India Opens Its Doors— Cautiously
A Quest to Enhance Quality Spurs Global Learning
Foreign Student Affairs
A View From Out Here
Forum
In Focus
Health and Insurance Supplement
Supplement: Danger Ahead!
Supplement: Their Baggage Goes, Too
Supplement: Directory of Insurance Providers, Services, and Products
International Educator - November/December 2011 - International Educator - November/December 2011
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Contents
International Educator - November/December 2011 - From the Editors
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2011 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 12
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 14
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 16
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Cultivating Branch Campuses
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 26
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2011 - India Opens Its Doors— Cautiously
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 34
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 36
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2011 - A Quest to Enhance Quality Spurs Global Learning
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 40
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 44
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 48
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 49
International Educator - November/December 2011 - A View From Out Here
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 51
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 53
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 54
International Educator - November/December 2011 - 55
International Educator - November/December 2011 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Cover4
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Health and Insurance Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2011 - SCover2
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Supplement: Danger Ahead!
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S2
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S3
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S4
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S5
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S6
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S7
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S8
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S9
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S10
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Supplement: Their Baggage Goes, Too
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S12
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S13
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S14
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S15
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S16
International Educator - November/December 2011 - Supplement: Directory of Insurance Providers, Services, and Products
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S18
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S19
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S20
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S21
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S22
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S23
International Educator - November/December 2011 - S24
International Educator - November/December 2011 - SCover3
International Educator - November/December 2011 - SCover4
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