Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

William Hoffa

Abstract

This paper will be looking at Wesleyan University student’s mental health during their study abroad experience. The research question analyzed how well-prepared Wesleyan University students felt for mental health issues during study abroad, what resources they had and used, what resources they would have found helpful, and what affected their mental health. Emerging adults are such a variant group and no student’s needs will be the same for all, but guidance and resources can still be provided.

The research was conducted through a twenty-question survey sent out to returned study abroad students at Wesleyan University. Seventy-three responses were received.

It was found that the majority of students either did not feel well prepared or only felt somewhat prepared. There is no accurate way to predict which students will struggle with mental health during studying abroad. Students used more coping mechanisms than resources provided by the program or Wesleyan University. The most highly recommended suggestion for the Office of Study Abroad at Wesleyan was hearing other student’s stories with mental health and study abroad.

With these findings, I developed eight suggestions for Wesleyan University’s Office of Study Abroad which are: move beyond culture shock, create a more open and safe communication with students, Wesleyan University students prefer to be self-sufficient, mental health problems can vary based on location and the student’s identity, staff and students should know about triggers that can occur during study abroad, set realistic expectations for study abroad for students, and finally, not every student will think mental health is a concern- talk about it anyway.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

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