International Student Information
When visiting a medical provider in the United States, it is important to adopt an active role as a consumer. In the United States, medical providers expect you to ask questions and be an active participant in your health care. This may be different from other countries where you are told to accept the medical advice from physicians and healthcare providers without question. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Self-care measures are an indication you are taking responsibility for your health and care about yourself. Some examples of self-care include: first aid, home remedies, use of vitamins, breast and testicular self-examination, exercise, consumption of balanced diet, personal hygiene and membership in support groups.
When to see a Healthcare Provider
- A life-threatening situation exists
- A symptom or condition persists for days with no identifiable cause or sign of improvement
- Symptoms return repeatedly without an obvious reason
- When your activities of daily living are affected (i.e. unable to attend classes)
One of the major challenges for an international student is using medical services in a different country. This is why many students bring medications and home remedies from their own countries. Although this practice shows that you are prepared to keep yourself healthy, it can be dangerous. It is important to know that medications have different uses and doses depending on the specific health problem.
We encourage international students not to self medicate with drugs brought from their homeland. We recommend that you consult with a healthcare provider before taking any prescription medications. If you bring medications from home, please get their English translation. It is also very important not to take someone else's prescription since the medication and dosage are specific for each illness and person.
Non-prescription (or "over-the-counter") medications can be used for minor illnesses. These types of medications are considered to be safe for consumer use when label directions and warnings are followed.
As an international student in the United States, you may find available food is very different from the food in your homeland. You may have trouble finding your favorite foods. Widener University's ARAMARK Food Services will be happy to help you address your nutritional needs. Another option is specialty food stores. You can find those in your local telephone directory.
- Eat three well balanced meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Don't skip breakfast. This can make it difficult to concentrate, especially with early morning classes. Breakfast is fuel for your body and brain. Research shows that students perform better on tests if they have had their breakfast.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of fluids on a daily basis. (8-10 glasses of water a day)
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats. (i.e. potato chips, fried foods, pastries)
Exercise is essential to a happy and healthy educational experience. The best exercise for most beginners is walking. Start out with 1-2 times per week for about 10 minutes, then gradually increase from there. Walking is a great exercise that you will never need a gym membership for—just go outside!
If you aren't sure where to start or need some help figuring out the right exercise program for you, call for an appointment at Student Health Services. Our health care providers will be glad to discuss your options.
Sleep is essential to a successful academic career. Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends. It is important to create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine particularly when you are so far from home.
Dental Health Issues
Dental care is another important area for international students. Stress, inadequate nutrition, and improper cleaning techniques may contribute to or increase the risk of dental disease. In the United States, insurance is available for dental care. You should check to see if your insurance policy covers dental care.
It is important to ask the healthcare providers at the health center about services available in the area. Some of their resources include free clinics offered at universities with dental schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is health care available on campus?
Yes. Student Health Services is a primary care practice providing care to Widener University students. The health center should be the first place you go, if you need advice about your health. We examine and treat you if you are sick, answer your questions if you want to know more about staying well, and we will refer you to the best off-campus specialists or hospitals if you need more care. Most health care received at Student Health Services is free. We care what happens to our students and we understand how frightening it can be to receive healthcare in a country where the language and customs are not your own.
Can my family members be treated at the Student Health Center?
Student Health Services does not offer healthcare to family members of university students. However, we will refer families to off-campus healthcare providers.
Is my health care confidential?
Yes. All health services records are confidential and can be released only with written permission. Requests for copies of medical records require a 48 hour waiting period.
Am I required to have health insurance while in the United States?
Yes. All international students, temporarily located outside of their home country, engaging in full-time educational activities through the university, are required to be covered with Widener University International Student Health Insurance. For more information, contact:
Lois J. Fuller
Executive Director of Multicultural & International Student Services
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013