Massachusetts Institute of Technology

International Scholars Office

  • ISchO Home
  • ISchO Staff
  • International Scholars
  • MIT Administrators
  • IScho News
  • Contact Us

Far from home when something stressful, shocking, or sad happens...

International Scholars

Campus in Springtime

Support for International Scholars and their Families

You came to MIT from afar, leaving family, colleagues and friends at home. Although you may have been nervous about adjusting to a new life in the US, you were also filled with excitement to work hard and be successful in your career. But unexpected things can happen. You may become overwhelmed with stress. You or someone you know may get sick or hurt. A tragic event may happen here or in your home country. When something unfortunate happens, your family may worry about you, or you about them.

It is normal to feel worried, nervous, or very tired when you feel stress or after there has been a shocking or sad event. Some of the most important things you can do are to stay in contact with others, call, text or email your family and friends at home. Be social with friends or work mates at MIT, outside the laboratory or office. Try to keep a regular schedule as much as possible. It may be very difficult to make yourself to wake up at your normal time and to eat meals even when you feel you have lost your appetite. It may be hard to fall asleep, but sleep is even more important when you feel sad or worried. Common Reactions to Traumatic Events

There are people at MIT who care about you. We want for you to remain healthy emotionally and to feel that you can talk about how you are feeling confidentially (without telling anyone you live or work with). Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it is a healthy thing to do.

You may want to seek the comfort of spiritual and religious staff of the MIT Chaplains.

You can come to see an advisor in the International Scholars Office. We will listen to you. And, if you want, we will help you to find the best person at MIT to understand and assist you.

If talking to family, friends, or a spiritual advisor does not make you feel better, the professional counselors at MIT may be able to help you.

  • Call this number on weekdays, Monday through Friday: 617-253-2916.

    You will speak with counseling staff briefly to tell them what you are feeling and they will schedule an appointment for you to meet with mental health counselor.

  • If you would like a translator to assist you, please see

  • Go to your appointment, even if you no longer feel you want to go. It is a chance for you to tell someone how your worry or sadness felt before, when you first called.

  • If you feel you cannot wait, you may walk directly to Mental Health and Counseling, E23 - 3rd Floor, Monday through Friday between 2pm and 4pm.       


  • If your thoughts and feelings are troubling you so much that you feel it is urgent to speak with someone, call one of these numbers, below. A mental health clinician is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to speak with you.

    Monday to Thursday, 8am to 7pm, and Friday 8am to 5pm: 617-253-2916
    Nights and weekends: 617-253-4481          

Perhaps you do not feel overly worried or anxious, but you feel stress during your work day and need to calm yourself. You can call 3-CALM (3-2256) from any campus phone  or call 617-253-2256 from your phone or an outside phone and you will hear a guided relaxation for several minutes.

If you are worried about someone else at MIT or your spouse or partner who seems depressed or upset, listen to what he or she has to say, without trying to give a solution. Simply tell that person you are concerned. Even if he or she insists nothing is wrong, it will help that person to know that you care. Encourage the person to call a professional counselor at 617-253-2916 and schedule an appointment. Or, offer to walk with them to Mental Health and Counseling during “walk-in” hours Monday through Friday between 2pm and 4pm.

Last Updated: November 2015

50 Ames St, Room E18-209, Cambridge, MA 02142 | Telephone: (617) 253-2851 | Fax: (617) 253-6624 | E-mail: