Counseling Services

Information for International Students

What is counseling?

Most students experience difficulties at one time or another while at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. As an international student, you may experience some challenges that are unique or more intense because you have the added pressure of adjusting to a new culture, language, and different academic environment. Staff members at Counseling Services have worked with many international students and are knowledgeable about the issues facing international students. Counseling is a free, confidential service provided to all students at UH Hilo.

Some international students feel uncomfortable discussing personal problems with others. However, the earlier you seek help, the more quickly your problems may resolve. Meeting with a professional counselor at Counseling Services provides an opportunity to discuss concerns in a safe, friendly environment.

All racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, gender and sexual diversities, and age differences are fully respected.

What is confidentiality?

Participation in counseling is private and confidential. This means that the counselor will not provide anyone with information about you (or even that you are in counseling) without your written permission. Information about student being seen at Counseling Services will not go into your academic record and will not be given to parent, family members, immigration official or to your home government. The only exceptions are those rare times when it is clear that a person's life is in danger, when a child appears to be in danger of being harmed, or when the information is required by a court of law (i.e., subpoenaed) within the United States. Students are encouraged to discuss any concerns they have about confidentiality with their counselor.

Why would I meet with a counselor?

Here are some examples of what you might like to talk to a counselor about:

  • Understanding and adjusting to U.S. culture and way of life
  • Separation from family and friends
  • Language difficulties
  • Academic pressures
  • Financial concerns
  • Finding time to meet family commitments and obligations
  • Relationship concerns
  • Career indecision
  • Dating people from different cultures
  • Adjusting to new roommates
  • Making new friends
  • Coping with worries re: visa and immigration issues

These are just a few of the possible concerns that a counselor could help you with. Please feel free to discuss other concerns when you meet a counselor.

Mental Health Awareness

This short video, produced by International Student Insurance , introduces the concepts of mental health for students studying in the United States of America.

Counseling Services

How do I make an appointment?

If you would like to make a first appointment, call (808) 932-7465 or stop by our office. If you feel more comfortable expressing your concerns in your native language, the following languages are spoken at counseling services: Palauan, French, and Spanish. If you would like to learn more about the counselors, you can read about the staff.

Individual Counseling:

A counselor will meet with you one-on-one confidentially on a regular basis and listen to you and help you with your concerns. Please see the link for more information about individual counseling.

Group Counseling:

If you are looking for an opportunity to learn more about yourself through interactions with other students (both American students and international students), group counseling is available. Group counseling involves having several students meet regularly to talk about their concerns and learn from each other and group facilitators. Several different types of group counseling are available. Please see the link for more information about group counseling.

Consultation and Crisis Services

If you are concerned or worried about yourself, your family member, roommates, or friends, you can contact us at (808) 932-7465 or walk in to our office at the end of the hall on the second floor of the Student Services Center to talk with a counselor without making an appointment in advance. If our office is closed for the day and this is an emergency, please call 911 or call campus security (808) 974-7911. If you are not sure and you want to talk to someone, call the Crisis Line of Hawaiʻi at 1-800-753-6879.

What if I have more questions? Please see our Counseling Center FAQs, or stop by or give us a call.

UH Hilo Resources

Adapted with permission from University of Buffalo Counseling Services.