Are you new to the US?
Are you feeling confused, angry, frustrated?
Are you ‘going bananas’?
Living and studying in a new country can be fun and exciting! However, many people find that studying in a new country is different than studying back home. This includes differences in academic expectations, but also differences in food, fashion, and more! Students often suffer from culture shock.
Culture shock is when someone starts to native the dissimilarities between life in the US and life back home. This can often lead to feelings of loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and much more.
Feelings of culture shock are normal! Learning to understand what culture shock is can help you overcome it. Some tips and suggestions for overcoming culture chock include:
Take time to learn the language
- VIU has an
- Use English outside of class wherever possible! This will help you to practice and to acclimate to using English outside of class.
Learning about the culture of your host country
- The DC area has many museums and cultural events that can help you to learn about US history and the culture! Visit some of our area museums here: https://www.si.edu/museums
- Northern Virginia also has many entertaining and informative things to do: https://nvvc.virginia.org/
- There are many useful website with information on local news and events. One of the is the DCist: http://dcist.com/
- Find out about how to get around the DC/Northern Virginia area including local airports, public transportation, getting your own license and more: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/resources/useful-websites/
- The National Mall has many events throughout the year for fun and learning: https://www.nps.gov/nama/index.htm
Take care of yourself
- VIU encourages students to obtain health insurance: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/resources/health-insurance/
- Find a healthcare clinic near campus: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/resources/health-clinics/
- Find a gym that is close to campus or home (and use it!).
Make friends and develop relationships
- VIU has many events and activities for students: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/student-affairs/student-events/
- Explore VIU’s student clubs here: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/student-affairs/student-clubs/
- Have fun and give back to our community through volunteering: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/student-affairs/volunteering/
Keep in touch with friends and family back home
- There are many applications that you can use to communicate with friends/family back home (many are free!).
- Try to find a phone plan that allows you to call abroad.
Do something that reminds you of home
- The DC-area is a very culturally inclusive region.
- You can find events on the National Mall for many cultural events: https://www.nps.gov/nama/index.htm. Maybe they have one applicable to your culture!
Find shops and restaurants that sell food that you are used to at home
- There are many international shops/markets that have food from all over the world. You can find many of these on the internet, or by asking a friend or teacher.
Talk to your advisor or teachers!
- Your teachers are here to help in class, but they also want to help you adjust and enjoy your experience outside of school. So, talk to your teachers if you have questions about local events, getting adjusted to living in the US, or anything else!
- Every VIU student has an advisor. If you would like to talk to your advisor, please make an appointment with them.
VIU Student Counseling
Everyone feels culture shock differently. Some students have a harder time adjusting than others, and that’s ok! If you are experiencing culture shock and need to talk to someone, VIU has student counseling services: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/services/counseling-services/. This service is free!