Cultural Adjustment

It is common for anyone living in a new country, culture, or even in a new region within the same country to experience a range of emotions while becoming acclimated to the new environment. While each person’s experience with cultural adjustment varies, the typical cultural adjustment cycle is characterized by periods of both excitement and frustration that fluctuate over time. Understanding the common experiences of cultural adjustment can help you to manage expectations throughout the process and empower you to persevere through the more challenging experiences.

If you continue to feel overwhelmed or need support to cope, don’t hesitate to access any of the university tools and resources to help manage your well being. Additional resources are listed on our Health and Safety page.

Cultural Adjustment Curve

  1. At Home
    Feeling excitement & enthusiasm; some fear of unknown; concern about leaving family home and friends
  2. Honeymoon Phase
    Welcomes new housing, school, friends, sights, orientation, beginning classes - Everything is new and exciting.
  3. Cultural Shock Phase
    Feeling frustration or annoyance with everyday differences. Confusions, homesick and avoiding contacts are normal at this stage.
  4. Adjustment Phase
    Feeling settled down as a newcomer. Starting to feel more comfortable and confident. Confronting deeper cultural/personal issues.
  5. Adaptation Phase
    Feeling comfortable with the new life. There are difficult periods sometimes but have more constructive attitudes.