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Cultural Adjustment

Last updated on Apr 11, 2023

Settling in a new environment- a new country, a new city, a new home can be exciting, but also yet challenging. Don’t worry you are not alone. All students commonly go through a series of responses as they navigate through their new environments. These responses are referred to as “Cultural Transitions.”

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  • You can start off feeling excited as you move-in and meet new friends.
  • As you go through your day-to-day, the way you learned things may no longer work. The variation of weather, food, social norms, language, and others may feel overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and even lead to homesickness.

These are all normal, natural responses that can happen over the course of a few days or even years. The process of cultural transition varies from person to person. Each person's experience is unique.

Strategies to Ease the Transition

  • Be open-minded and curious: Be open to learning new experiences and trying new things. Celebrate the cultural differences and similarities. Embrace the learning.
  • Use your observation skills: A word, phrase or gesture that means something in your home country may mean something very different in the U.S. Try to assess and understand by asking questions, actively listening, and observing the customs around you.
  • Maintain a sense of humor: Give yourself (and others) permission to make mistakes.
  • Be patient: Feeling "at home," settling in, all takes time. Don't try to understand everything immediately.
  • Develop your support network: Make friends with local students and/ or fellow international students. Talk to a counselor, ISAP advisor, residential advisor, program advisor about what you are feeling. Finding your community of support can be one of the best resources.
  • Get involved: One way to have a fulfilling experience at CCA is getting involved in student clubs and campus events. The more effort you put into an experience, the more you will get out of.