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International Student Family Resources

PSU supports all types of families and offers many resources to help balance family and student life. We in the International Student Life office hope to be as helpful as possible to you. You can use the information here as well as at the links to the left of this page to find information that will help you adjust to life in Portland. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to visit the International Student Life Office in East Hall 122 or email - we'd love to meet you! 

The PSU Human Resources office also offers some helpful information for people who are moving to Portland to learn about transportation, schools, diversity and community resources, and more. Check out their website at

The Resource Center for Students with Children

Located in the Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 462, the Resource Center for Students with Children offers help finding child care and schools for your children, as well as some financial assistance for childcare. They also offer forums to help student parents balance their responsibilities as both a parent and a student, and they frequently host social events that are fun for kids and help you meet other student families! 

The Resource Center for Students with Children can help you find assistance with a variety of issues including legal matters, housing, health and lactation, mental health, financing, and parenting.

There are many places on campus that are family friendly spaces as well as lactation spaces for women who wish to nurse their children.  The link below provides a map of these spaces as well as additional resources for student parents.

Child Care Options 

If you have small children with you while you're in Portland, there will be times when you need to secure child care to supervise and care for your children while you are in class, at work, or other obligations. You should ask your professor before bringing your child to class with you, since this may be allowed in some circumstances but not all. Child care in the U.S. can be quite expensive. Additionally, in Oregon it is illegal to leave your child unattended at home or in a car or public place unless he or she is at least 10 years old. PSU does have some options for parents who need care and supervision for their children. 

Little Vikings is an on-campus child care facility that provides a few hours of child care at a time for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. They provide immediate, reserved, or occasional care for the children of PSU staff, students, and faculty. For more information about reservation process, policies, and prices, visit their website. 

The Helen Gordon Child Development Center is a program through the PSU Graduate School of Education that provides childcare as well as preschool and kindergarten classes for children from 4 months to 6 years old. Currently, there is a long waitlist to enroll your child in the Helen Gordon Center. For more information about the program, services, and cost, visit their website. 

To find other child care options in Portland, please visit the Resource Center for Students with Children. They can also provide you with information about financial assistance for your child care. 

Local Schools

Most of the time, children in Oregon must go to school if they are between the ages of 7 and 18. Most children start kindergarten at age 5 or 6. If you are student looking to locate the nearest public school for your child/children, you can visit the following websites. The school you should choose depends on what neighborhood you live in. You will find information about enrolling your children in school at each site.

Portland Public Schools:

Beaverton Schools:

Clackamas Schools:

Gresham Schools:

There are also several language immersion schools, International Baccalaureate schools, and alternative schools in Portland.

Family Health Care 

Due to the very high cost of health care in the U.S., health insurance is required for all international students and scholars as well as your spouse and children. Visit the "Health Insurance" tab on this webpage for more information about PSU's health insurance coverage and costs, as well as health insurance waivers. 

It's important to know a few helpful tips to understand American health care: 

  • Urgent Care Clinics are for situations that are serious but not life-threatening. These clinics do not require appointments but you should verify with your insurance company if your policy covers costs of treatment at the urgent care clinic. 
  • Emergency Rooms and ambulances should only be used in very serious medical emergencies. An appointment is never necessary at the emergency room, but if your situation is not serious you may have to wait a long time because the doctor will always see the sickest patients first. 
  • For routine exams and treatment (non-urgent), you should schedule an appointment with a doctor's office. Before you schedule your appointment, you should call your insurance company (number on the back of your insurance card) to make sure the doctor and the treatment service is covered under your insurance policy. You will most likely be required to pay a small payment (called a co-payment) at the time of your appointment. 
  • A Specialist is a doctor who only practice a specific type of medicine such as gynecology or pediatrics. You should check with your insurance company before scheduling an appointment with a specialist because you may need to first get a referral from your primary physician in order to have your insurance cover the costs of the specialist's treatment. 
  • It's always best to check with your insurance company or doctor's office directly if you have questions. The U.S. health care system can be very confusing and complicated! 

English Language Assistance

Weekly English Conversation classes are offered by FOCUS, an organization of Christian volunteers, every Monday and Wednesday morning from 10am-12pm in East Hall 121 during fall, winter, and spring terms. All students, wives or husbands of students, and friends of students are welcome. These classes are free of cost and focus on conversation practice, grammar, and cultural topics. To learn more about English Conversation Groups provided by FOCUS, please visit their site here

International Women's Community

All International Women are welcome to join the International Women's Community on Fridays during fall, winter, and spring terms from 12-1pm in East Hall 121. This is a social gathering of women from around the world who get together to talk about any topics you'd like! Some topics include dating and marriage, women in the workplace, family relationships, beauty culture, and more. Students, wives of students, friends and relatives of students, and staff are all welcome! Join us for refreshments, conversation, and fun.  

Family Fun

Portland is a fun city to explore with your spouse or children. There are many fun options your family might enjoy that are relatively inexpensive. You can connect with the organization Metro Parent to learn more about events, giveaways, and resources in Portland. 

The Campus Rec Center offers a Youth Pass for free for children of PSU students. With this Youth Pass, your child can access parts of the Campus Rec Center during set youth hours. Swimming lessons are also available for children from Campus Rec. Additionally, Campus Rec plans several annual events for families that kids can take part in. 

The International Student Life team often partners with the Intensive English Language Program and the Resource Center for Students with Children to host fun family gatherings for international families. Email, read your International Student Life Newsletter, and connect with our International Families of PSU group on Facebook to keep current about these events.