Typical symptoms of culture shock may include physical and emotional changes such as:
- Feeling like a child
- Disliking the new culture
- Frequent crying, or feeling like crying
- Changes in appetite or energy levels
- Lasting feeling of sadness
- Headaches or stomachaches
Over time the feelings and symptoms will dissipate, but there are a number of tips and tricks for hastening the adjustment process. Be proactive in getting to know your new environment. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new whenever you have the opportunity. Try to keep an open mind and a healthy sense of adventure. If you find yourself in a low place where you are having difficulty coping, or you are experiencing severe symptoms of culture shock, seek counseling immediately. In U.S. culture where individuals often live apart from the social support network of family and friends, it is normal to seek counseling in times of emotional distress. There are many caring, qualified professionals such as social workers (M.S.W.), psychologists (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) or psychiatrists (M.S. in psychiatry) who can listen and provide the support you need to help you through a period of difficulty.
Adjusting To Life in the U.S.
Learn about your environment through exploration, and what is going on beyond campus-life. Take a walk in the park, try a local restaurant, or go to the movies.
To thrive in a new culture and learn from it, it is important to be open to new experiences, try new things, and be curious about the way things are done. If you are confused by something, ask how it is done in the U.S. Most people will be happy to teach you about their country and customs.
A healthy body promotes a healthy mind and is a great way to relieve stress.
The ISSO staff is here to help answer your questions and concerns. This is your office.