In case of an emergency, dial 911.
Places to Receive Medical Treatment
General Facts About Health Care in the United States
Medical care in the United States is highly regulated. Most medical providers must be licensed to provide care. This means that they must have received training from programs that are accredited, and in order to maintain their licenses they must receive continued training so they know the newest information in their fields. The training programs are based on scientific research. Most physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners receive little training in holistic methods of diagnosis and treatment that focus on the connections among body, mind and spirit.
Most U.S. healthcare is scientific and focuses on the physical nature of illness. In the United States, patients expect their doctors to analyze their symptoms, diagnose their conditions and that their illnesses, usually with medication or therapy. It is not expected that doctors will know or ask about aspects of a patient’s life other than those directly affecting the physical symptoms that concern the patient.
U.S. Healthcare can seem bureaucratic and impersonal. It is common for patients to complete lengthy forms when they arrive at the clinic, to show their insurance cards, and to provide details about their own and their family’s medical history prior to receiving treatment. Sometimes information is taken and treatment is provided, by nurses, physician’s assistants, or nurse practitioners before, or instead of, physicians.
For specific medical problems, specialists are often consulted. For any symptom that cannot be explained, or for problems involving specific parts of the body, or requiring additional testing (such as blood analyses or x-rays) patients are often sent to hospitals or specialists. It is common to consult a different doctor for each specific symptom or problem.
Medical care is expensive, and insurance is necessary. Most international visitors find that healthcare in the United States costs much more than it does at home. A visit to the doctor can cost several hundred dollars. Being treated at a hospital, even if you do not stay overnight, often costs thousands of dollars. Patients are charged for each service or procedure. For example, there may be a charge for the ambulance, and then for the examination, for the tests, for the equipment and and for the medication. In addition, each medical provider charges for his or her time. Most people-Americans as well as international visitors– are unable to pay large medical expenses. It is common to rely on insurance for protection in case of unexpected medical emergencies.
Caring for your Health in a New Environment
Moving from one culture to another requires many adjustments because cultural assumptions, expectation and practices are a part of everything we do. Similarly, good health is related to almost all of our activities, from sleeping, to eating to how we spend leisure time; and the process of cultural adjustment and the steps needed to stay healthy are closely connected.
When you First Arrive
The early days of a new culture are often filled with anticipation about the many new and exciting experiences you may have while you are here. At the same time, you have many details to take care of and many things to learn. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time. You can also visit the Relaxation Room which offers massages, aromatherapy and stress relief workshops.
Get enough sleep. You may be jet lagged and unaccustomed to the time change between the United States and your country. Your feelings of excitement and anxiety may interfere with your sleep. You will sleep best if you do not consume too much alcohol or caffeine, avoid eating too late in the evening, and get to bed early enough so that you can get at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest.
Eat regular, nutritious meals. American food may be different from the food at home. You may be tempted ti skip meals or eat too much or choose unhealthy foods (which Americans sometimes eat in excess). Eating too much fat (contained in fast food) will lead to weight gain. Eating too much sugar (found in soft drinks and desserts) often causes mood swings and loss of energy. Across the street from campus is the Toucan Market, which has an excellent variety of fresh foods and international and ethnic ingredients.
Exercise Your Way to Good Health
Research shows that exercise, in addition to providing benefits to physical health, is an excellent way to remain energetic and positive. One way of exercising is by walking or biking to and around campus. In addition, you can visit the Campus Activity Center for free with your Aggie ID. The facilities include two swimming pools, a weight room, numerous cardio machines, an indoor track, as well as classes.
Manage Stress Effectively
Moving from one culture to another, beginning a new academic program, and adjusting to many changes at the same time can cause significant stress. Stress, in turn, can interfere with your ability to sleep, to concentrate and to succeed academically, so it is essential to manage your stress. you can do this by taking care of yourself, staying in touch with family and friends, making time for relaxation and rest, engaging in some fun activities in your leisure time, and maintaining your sense of humor. Americans sometimes counsel all things in moderation. This is wise advice, meaning that some work, some rest and some socializing will help you achieve a balanced life. Too much of any one of these can cause stress.
Emotional and Psychological Health
The definition and meaning of emotional health varies from one culture to another. Different cultures take different approaches to diagnosing and treating psychological conditions. International students from some cultures are comfortable seeking assistance from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health practitioner, while those from other cultures are more reluctant to do so. In the United States it is common for individuals to seek help from mental health practitioners for problems in dealing with adjustment to school or to a new culture, social relationships, stress, sexual issues, emotional concerns, depression, alcohol and drug use, sexual abuse, family concerns, coping with loss, grief and death and many other concerns. Regardless of their culture some individuals may be diagnosed with certain conditions that require care from mental health practitioners, for example, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. attention deficit/hyperactivity, eating disorders, and many other conditions. If you have received such diagnosis at home, it is essential to continue your treatment in the united States by consulting with a qualified mental health practitioner. Some students believe that a change in their location may lessen or remove their symptoms, but this is not the case because the symptoms are not caused by geography. Ignoring your symptoms or denying your condition is unwise and may be dangerous. Consult with the Counseling Center if you ever need help or advice.
Adjusting to U.S. Culture
Although you have been looking forward to your U.S. study experience as a positive goal and a new adventure, you will experience a period of cultural adjustment. Researchers have identified a cycle called culture shock that most people go through when they move to a new culture for an extended period of time. The first few weeks are exciting and fun, almost like a vacation. During this time, you will face the new environment and its challenges with anticipation and curiosity. But then a new and more difficult period sets in when you begin to feel weary of so many changes and so much that is unfamiliar. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may become exhausted from listening to and speaking in English for so many hours each day. Everything from the people to the food, the living conditions and the way Americans relate to each other may begin to frustrate you. Perhaps you begin to spend more time at home by yourself. You may skip class or find yourself engaging in unhealthy eating or drinking. You may have trouble sleeping, or you may be sleeping many hours each day. During this period of adjustment, which can last from several weeks to several months, some students even decide to abandon their education in the U.S. If you find yourself growing angry, sad, homesick, or depressed, seek help. You can contact the incoming exchange advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Campus Health Center or the Counseling Center.