Fighting Culture Shock

Culture shock is the feeling of being out of place in an unfamiliar environment. The initial excitement of moving to a new country often goes away when you begin to feel challenged by a different culture and a different environment. You may feel confused and frustrated by new and challenging cultural norms and expectations. The stress of dealing with these challenges can result in discomfort and negative feelings.

How to Deal with Culture Shock

If you are a person who has already exhibited the courage and sense of adventure to study in another country, overcoming culture shock can be achieved. However, if feelings of longing and depression persist, talk to someone in the Career and Counseling Center (1325 Academic Building).

It is common in the U.S. for people with emotional problems to seek professional help. Many ESL students are far from home, or a sense of home, and often lack the usual support system of family and friends. ESL students may find it helpful to speak with a counselor or other mental health professional when dealing with issues of adjustment, depression, strain or stress.

This process is a respected way in the U.S. to achieve good mental health. Here, shame and stigma are not associated with seeing a mental health professional. Doctor-patient conversations are private and subject to privacy laws, so students should be assured that their conversations will remain confidential.

The following pages have more detailed information and links to other resources that may help ESL students adjust.

Online Resources on Culture Shock