Being Ill in A Foreign Land: International Students' Perceptions of and Experiences with University Health Services

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2004


Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Department of Speech Communication


Although more and more international students come to the United States in pursuit of higher education, there has been scarce research on how these sojourners utilize university health services (UHS). These few studies have shown that these newcomers endure a great amount of anxiety and stress, which may lead to physical illness. Scholars from the communication field and others (e.g., Higher Education) have urged scholarship that examines the complexity of culture in various health contexts. This study attempts to explore international students' perceptions and experiences interacting with their UHS providers. Five themes identified from focus group discussions include: (1) lack of control, (2) issues of efficiency, (3) perceptions toward American medication, (4) distrust, and (5) interpersonal communication issues.

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