Help and Social Support Seeking

Soliciting help from others primarily takes the form of talking to friends, mostly conationals, and telephoning family and friends.

A sociology student stated:

I tell my concerns, my stress to my friends who are also from China. They understand me very well. To me, Chinese friends are sources of support because there is a shared experiences and common language. I feel relieved after talking to them. They always help me out either in my academic study or in my personal life. For instance, when I first got here, my program of study made me highly stressed. I was always totally lost when professor lectured. I talked about my concerns with another student in my department who came two years earlier than I did. He told me that the first three months are really hard for everybody and not to give up. Since he took those classes before, he loaned his notes to me and told me how to deal with each class. All of his suggestions are really helpful. Without his help, I can not imagine how I would have survived that first semester. (Participant 2)

Some students spoke about choosing not to tell their family about their concerns, because they did not want to worry or disappoint their parents. Just as an electrical engineering student said:

There is understanding among Chinese students. It is that we have same the experience. We speak the same language. There is no need to explain. I think we can help each other. When I have a problem, I always turn to Chinese friends here. I also call my parents from time to time, but I dare not to call very often, because I am afraid that they will worry about me. I really enjoy talking to my parents. Without their emotional support, I could not persist with my PhD program. (Participant 7)

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