When you need supports: Ask for Help!
February 11, 2019
Everyone needs support when having a hard time. Especially as international students, it could be harder to find supports since we are far away from home. Before I came here, one concern that I had was where and how to get support as I don’t know anyone here and it was my first time coming to the US. I was worried about my English and I wasn’t confident whether I could do it well or not. However, since I started the Post-Professional Master’s program in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, I’ve been supported by so many people and groups in school which I really appreciate.
Here are some resources where you can get help and supports when you need as an international student in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.
1. Global Initiatives
When I think of supports as an international student, the first thing that came up in my mind is Global Initiatives. As its title represents, the Global Initiatives team supports international students in our Division to adapt to a new country as well as to help us academically. They’ve held Global Corner which we can join and have fun. Also, they have Academic Peer Mentors, International Student Mentorship Program and Study Hall which supports our academics and hear from previous students as well. In terms of Study Hall, Julianne, who is an Entry-Level Master’s student, help us with English when we’re having a hard time doing assignments or studying exams. I think it really helps us and makes us feel that we are being cared for.
2. Faculty members
The Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy has more than a hundred faculty members. You’ll not have a chance to meet all of them, but during your program, you can get a lot of support from the faculty members. They help us not only academically, but also with other things. Dr. Blanche and Dr. Ochi, who are the program directors of the Post-Professional Master’s program, have been supporting in so many ways. We were invited to Dr. Blanche’s house for BBQ party in the first month of the program and Dr. Blanche and Dr. Ochi have been asking how have we been doing all the time. Also, Dr. Cermak, who was a professor from our program in the Fall semester, was supportive not only during the class but during the whole semester. I was surprised by how supportive they are and their willingness to help us. Also, when you have interests in some specific part, I’m sure that you can find experts and ask for advice in the Division.
When you’re struggling with something, you may think that you’re the only person who has the problem. However, since all of your classmates from the Post-Professional Master’s program are mostly international students, they could have the same or similar problems that you have or you have been through. I was really nervous before I start the program, but once I met them in the orientation day, I could feel much better as all of my classmates were so kind and supportive. We had some group works in the Fall semester, and all of us were cooperative, helping each other. We also meet sometimes, hang out together. You can also learn so many things from different cultures to their clinical experiences as an occupational therapist in their countries. It has been really nice having them as my classmates and I’m sure if you come and start the program, your classmates will be too.
4. Office of International Services (OIS)
OIS is one other support that you’ll need during your study in the U.S. Some things that you need to complete when you first come such as passport verification is done by OIS. Also, while studying, when you travel out of the States, you need OIS for a travel signature. When you’re about to graduate, you’ll need help to apply for OPT visa. Like I mentioned, OIS help us process our visa and stuff, and they have some events too like International Coffee Hour, Movie Night, and Intellectual Writing Session. You can also find some useful information on the website from broadly studying abroad to living in LA specifically.
I really appreciate their help and supports. This is one reason why I chose USC and I think it would have been more difficult studying and living in another country. Lastly, I’m also thankful for the Student Ambassadors and Admission Team since they’ve been supporting me adjust to this position.