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Mental Health


Stepping into a new culture can be difficult, stressful, and scary for everyone, even if you feel like you have "good" mental health.  Part of experiencing a new culture is culture shock which may make you feel uncomfortable, stressed, tired, etc.  It is helpful to have a plan in place before you leave on your CCE, so that your mental health does not get in the way of your experience.  Disclosing your concerns to anyone before leaving (professor, Global Education staff member, study abroad program provider, classmate, etc.) is an important for self-advocacy and being successful on your CCE. 
 
As part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Global Education is dedicated to providing you a safe and engaging CCE experience.  If you are looking for further guidance or support after reading through the information below, please reach out to one of our staff members in the Office of Global Education to assist you in choosing an experience.  We can reach out to a professor, program provider, or Carroll department to find support available to you. 
 
Pre-Travel 

It is important to analyze your state of mind and consider your needs prior to travel.  Below are some tips on where to get started.
 
  • Schedule a meeting with a mental health provider you are currently seeing or schedule an appointment to speak with someone on campus. The Walter Young Center services are free. 
  • If you are traveling with a professor and feel comfortable meeting with them, discuss any concerns or questions you might have with them.  Most CCE professors have been on the CCE at least once, if not multiple times and can answer your questions.  The professor can also better prepare how to help you while in country. 
  • If you are studying abroad, research what resources are available at the university. 
  • Research the cultural norms, cities, food, activities etc.
  • Medications - speak with your personal medical professional or the Carroll Health Center
    • Make sure they are in their original bottles.
    • If you need to acquire more medication while out of the country, the country may not have it or it may go by a different name.
    • Certain medications are not allowed in some countries even with a U.S. prescription.
  • Manage your expectations.  Not everything will go exactly as planned, because it is travel. 
  • Plan strategies for when you will travel.  When I feel ____ way, I am going to do ______ . 
During Travel 
 
  • Remember that most people in your shoes are feeling uncomfortable and that it is natural 
  • Take time to reflect and decompress 
  • Time change, food, and a new environment can have an affect on any medication you are taking 
  • Remember the strategies you prepared while planning to travel and use them 
  • Keep a journal 
  • Reach out to family or friends 
  • Even if you did not talk to your professor before traveling, there is still time meet with them if you are feeling overwhelmed while traveling 
  • Try to eat healthy and get a good amount of sleep (jet lag may cause less sleep than you are normally used to) 
Post-Travel 
 
  • Take time to check in with yourself on how you are feeling after your CCE is over. 
    • Seek mental health guidance from a mental health provider or schedule an appointment to speak with someone on campus.  The Walter Young Center services are free. 
    • Reach out to your friends or family. 
  • Understand that it may take time for things to feel "normal" again.  Upon returning, you may experience reverse culture shock where it is difficult to adjust to life before travel. 
  • If you were stressed about going on your CCE, feel accomplished that you were able to complete it! 
Resources