Hello. I’m Janice Abarbanel, Berlin’s onsite Wellness Counselor – looking forward to meeting you when you arrive in Berlin in a few weeks.
NYU-NY students may know Wellness as the resource at 726 Broadway where one goes for emergencies, for counseling appointments, and for help when things really seem out of sorts.
In Berlin, Wellness is this and much more. For starters, Wellness is a state of mind and a process in Berlin where the staff, from faculty to German instructors to the Student Life team, understands that there’s a big difference between having your suitcase at the back of your closet to unpacking in and adjusting to your long imagined semester in Berlin. So, consider the Wellness office to be your resource for support for a healthy transition and for ongoing help with challenges related to managing energy, settling into a different culture, developing new relationships, and taking care of friendships back home. Being challenged during a transition to another culture is very normal.
Janice Abarbanel, PHD – Your NYU Berlin Wellness Counselor
It’s one thing to imagine living and studying in Berlin, but it’s different to land. As much as humans like exploring, our brains often don’t “flex” as quickly as planes fly. It takes far longer than a day to get yourself (your emotions) from one culture to the next. Be prepared to have hours or days when you’ll feel uncomfortable or confused, but this is all part of a very normal process of being somewhere new.
One of the most common ways that students have used the Wellness Office in Berlin is to discuss ways to improve communication with friends and family back home.
So, my tip for today is to encourage each of you to set up a communication plan before you leave. Because the facebook, skype, gchat and texting are part of your everyday lives, these technologies often interfere with students’ ability to focus on settling into their days in Berlin. Managing the time differences and feeling responsible for maintaining daily contact with those you care about at home can begin to erode a healthy sleep pattern and, eventually, your ability to focus on academics. Before you embark for Berlin, set up a reasonable plan with friends and family for sharing your updates and hearing about what’s happening at home. Speak together about what will work – this saves a lot of concern once you are using your energy for a new city and new friends.
And, an important point, counseling in Berlin is free and confidential – it is entirely separate from your professors and staff and friends. My office is in the AC, near the entrance to the lobby. Sometimes being far from home provides students with a sense of extra privacy. It’s common for students while away to try out counseling for the first time. Maybe one appointment will be enough. Maybe you want to learn ways to ease stress or to get some ideas about where to de-stress in Berlin. Maybe you want the chance to sort through current or past concerns.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A BIG PROBLEM TO COME INTO THE WELLNESS OFFICE TO CHAT.
To contact me, you can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on my Berlin cell phone number: 0152 369 75610!
See you all very soon!
Janice Abarbanel, PHD