As a part of their graduate coursework, all students in the applied psychology fields (clinical, counseling, and school psychology) are required to obtain clinical training. International students in these graduate programs often experience unique challenges in their training to become mental health professionals. In addition to problems typically experienced by their domestic counterparts, they face unique challenges such as adjusting to a new culture and, for many, learning to conduct therapy in a new language (Mittal & Wieling, 2006). These language and cultural barriers affect more than just the academic, counseling, and supervision experiences of these trainees; they take a toll on stress-levels, health, and well-being (Nilsson, 2007).
Although international students face several challenges on their clinical work when compared to U.S.-domestic counterparts, they can provide a unique perspective that might help them provide more culturally sensitive counseling. It is important to look at ways in which international trainees can be supported in developing their clinical skills and address their own needs and concerns. Here are some ways that international students can overcome challenges in clinical work: