Counseling Center

July 14, 2020

To My International UW Community

Posted by Mandy Lu, Psy.D., Staff Psychologist, UWCC

To my international UW community,

This may be your first year or one of many years in the U.S. The pandemic has brought the added stress of balancing so much just to take care of basic needs and continue your studies, work, and relationships in the U.S. The homesickness and uncertainty over when you will be able to go home to see loved ones can be unbearable at times. The recent announcement of restriction on student visas is another painful blow and can bring up feelings of rejection and lack of recognition in your contribution to your communities here.

For many who come to the U.S. to pursue an education, it can feel like years of preparation and planning to launch you into a land of dreams and possibilities. It is costly, time-consuming, and nerve-racking. Once here, the challenges of learning and adjusting to a drastically different environment aside, there is a constant need to make sure that you are staying up to date on immigration policies and following regulations closely to avoid risking your ability to stay and continue your education and work. Sudden changes in immigration policies such as the recent restrictions are the worst-case scenario coming true. After working so hard to be here and being so careful to manage your immigration status, barring your stay here is the ultimate invalidation of your efforts.

I want to let you know that I see you. I value you. The UW community sees you and values you. I hope you are taking good care of yourself while navigating the uncertainties. One of the things that can be particularly hard for those of us who are part of the international community in the U.S. is reaching out. If you are struggling, whether it be figuring out the logistics of staying here or returning to your home country, understanding the policies, or managing difficult emotional reactions, please reach out. Reach out to friends and loved ones for community and support. Check your email for a communication from UW offices that are ready to support you and guide you through your options or reach out to them. The Counseling Center and Hall Health Mental Health are also available via secure videoconferencing.

You have overcome so much to get here and be here. Now tune into that resilience you have built; breathe and take it one day at a time.


For information on what UW is doing in response to student visa restrictions, you can check out the Back-to-School Town Hall video held on 7/10/20.