American colleges and universities have a long tradition of welcoming international students. Today, over one million international students are studying in the U.S. Moving to a new country is both exciting and difficult as you adjust to a new culture and to differences in things like English language ability, family income, and educational goals.In addition to an office for international students, check to see if your school has a special pre-arrival guide or website with important information about visas, working in the U.S., immunizations, health insurance, and registering for courses. Navigating the U.S. health care system can be challenging and so can explaining your health symptoms in English. The student health center will be a supportive resource that makes both of these easier. Here is some helpful information for navigating health care in the United States:
- Health insurance. Your school will most likely require you to have health insurance, and there is usually an option for you to purchase a student insurance plan to assist with covering your health needs while you are in the U.S.
- Pharmacies and prescriptions. In order to get a prescription, you will need to see a clinician, such as a doctor. You will get your prescription filled at a pharmacy (also known as a drug store). Your pharmacist cannot give you a prescription; only a clinician can do that. You will need to use your health insurance to get the medicine, so make sure you take your insurance card to the pharmacy.
- Your school may have a student health pharmacy. This makes it really convenient for students to get the medications and products they need.
- Drug stores sell things like toothpaste, over-the-counter medicine (like pain reliever and cough syrup), bandages, deodorant, and more. The student health pharmacy at your school may have these products available for purchase.
- Medications in the U.S. may have a different name than what you’re used to. This guide can help you make sure you’re selecting the right medication.
International students may come from countries with very different norms around mental health. This can prevent some students from seeking assistance or recognizing the warning signals and impact that stress and anxiety may have on their overall well-being. Pay attention to these signs and remember that you can receive assistance from the student counseling center or the mental health providers within the student health center.