Adjusting to the U.S. Quickly and Comfortably

I. Explore - Get familiar with your environment.

II. Learn about cultural norms - Pay attention to other people's behavior:

  • How do they greet each other?
  • How do they line up for a bus? How do people seat themselves on a bus?
  • How do people interact in professional settings, like offices? in the classroom? in a store? on the street?

III. Be slow to judge:

  • Ask someone who knows the culture about your observations. Be sure to ask "why" people do what they do.
  • Compare how things are both similar and different in your country. These comparisons may offer you a new, insightful perspective on your own culture.

* One of your best resources for information is the U-M International Center. They will be glad to answer ANY questions that you may have.

IV. Expect to go through an adjustment process:

Phases of Adjustment describes some typical reactions.

V. Go to events where you can meet new people:

VI. Be open to starting conversations:

  • With students and scholars
  • With students and people in the community from your own country who have been in the U.S. for awhile.
  • With U-M staff and faculty
  • With other people you meet out in the community (in restaurants and stores, at the library, on public transportation, etc.)

VII. Read: