CandleX works with schools to deliver workshops and training on various aspects of mental health. This workshop was the fourth time that our incredible counselor Melena has delivered a high-energy session aimed at Chinese students who are preparing to go to college in the USA.
Let’s be honest, moving from China to the United States to further one’s education is exciting, but can be scary. On 13 April 2019, CandleX’s mental health consultant, Melena Slaven, M.A., CRC, NCC, presented to the Elite Scholars of China (ESC). This group of students are planning to go to some of the top universities in the US. Many have already been accepted and are counting down the days until their departure. While most of them have visited the US before, they realize that living there long-term will pose new challenges. Many students studying abroad run into mental health issues during their stay in a new country.
The workshop was given to prepare the students for their life abroad and answer common questions such as:
How do I cope with stress in college?
How do I care for my emotional well-being in a new place?
What mental health issues commonly affect college students?
What are the cultural differences between the way that Chinese and American deal with these issues?
Melena covered a wide range of topics and gave the students some information and tools to use in their everyday life whilst abroad. Here’s a (non-exhaustive!) list of her top tips for the students:
Build up a social network as soon as possible after your arrival.
Make use of technology at your disposal, such as the Meetup app, a great way to make friends easily.
Practice meditation and mindfulness to calm down your thoughts. Students were given a sample session from the increasingly popular Headspace app that is used for guided meditation.
Prepare for culture shock – it can come when you least expect it!
Resist peer pressure – everyone deals with things differently, you don’t need to go along with the crowd.
Recognize the signs of depression and act on them if you spot them in yourself or others.
Learn some self-care strategies –how do you best take care of yourself?
Know when and how to seek help.
In feedback forms collected after the workshop was over, students described the workshop as:
90% of students said that the workshop helped them to understand culture shock. 100% of the participants stated that the workshop gave them ideas on how to take care of themselves. 79% of the participants said that they understood depression better after the workshop.
This is the fourth year CandleX has collaborated with ESC and every year the workshop is honed based on feedback from previous years to align the content more closely with the students’ wants and needs.
Do you see a need for a specific mental health workshop for teens in Beijing? We work with partners to deliver specific workshops to vulnerable populations. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.