Mental health issues for off-campus program participants

  1. Your issues won’t go away when you go off campus, and may intensify. Work with a professional before you leave to resolve issues as best you can before the program starts. Develop new coping skills or strengthen the skills you have.
  2. There is a good chance that you will not be able to receive professional counseling while off-campus. Plan ahead. What challenges do you expect to face while you are off-campus?
  3. Please share any mental health concerns with your faculty leader before you leave. Make plans together so your leader will know what to look for and what to do should you begin to experience a reoccurrence of symptoms.
  4. Do not make changes in your medications prior to the program. Be sure to take enough of each medication to last the entire program, as they may not be available in other countries.
  5. Be prepared to feel sad as you grieve leaving behind Earlham, your friends, and your family for a semester. If you are in a romantic relationship, plan ahead: how will you and your significant other deal with your absence? If you are both going on the same program, what challenges will that bring to your relationship?
  6. Be aware of cultural bias: at first, the new culture will seem thrilling and good; then you may come to resent certain aspects of the new culture; finally, you will see that there are pros and cons in every culture, and you will enjoy living in the new culture.
  7. The same may happen with your home stay family: love them, hate them, love them. This is all part of the adjustment process. Stay aware of your feelings and work to counteract negative thoughts.
  8. Practice good self-care: good nutrition, adequate rest and sleep, exercise, and fun. Maintain your routine as much as you can. You can’t experience everything no matter how hard you try. Take care of yourself so you enjoy what you can do.
  9. Each of you will be a support to others in the program. Lean on others and let others lean on you, but be careful not to cause burn-out among your peers or program leaders. Know when to stop leaning, and learn to say “Enough” when you can’t support others. Have other supports in place, such as regular contact with family and friends back home through snail mail or email, and phone calls when and if possible. However, do not call home every day. Stay connected to home through news outlets as much as possible.
  10. Be prepared to feel “out of sorts” when you return. You have changed during your experience. So have your family and friends while you were gone. Friends at Earlham have settled into new routines without you. Other friends may be gone on their own off-campus experience. Give yourself time to settle in and find your “new normal.”
  11. If you’d like to talk to one of the campus counselors about concerns you might have, it’s easy to make an appointment with one of the Earlham counselors.

More information and resources

While Earlham College provides limited support services, students are encouraged to proactively address their mental health concerns prior to coming to campus.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.