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Alternative Sources of Support

When asked where they seek help, if they are not receiving counseling from professional services, most students in this study tend to seek help from their peers or their family. As one male student claimed:

I believe most of us depend on spouses, friends, or parents to manage our emotional and personal difficulties. We rarely think about other support sources such as counseling or psychologists. (Participant 9)

Expectations and Suggestions

Based on the previous findings, there seems to be a gap between the awareness of psychological problems and the initiative to seek help from counseling professionals or psychologists. When it comes to expectations and preferences toward counseling service, Chinese students made the following suggestions.

Ethnical Match and Gender Match

Students in this study favored having a counselor of the same ethnic background because they believe the counselors with the same ethnic background are more credible and competent. One political science student stated:

The counselor’s heritage [ethnicity] is very important. I prefer Chinese counselors, because we have same experience and my problems will make better sense to him or her. Chinese counselors will easily show empathy or sympathy to my problems, which will make our conversation much easier. If I talk to the U.S. counselor, some of my problems probably are not even a problem for them and it is difficult for them to understand and therefore they might tend to minimize the problems. People who are not blind can not really feel what a blind people feel. (Participant 3)

Regarding gender preference, many participants tend to prefer same gender counselors.

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