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UVM Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guidebook

Section 2 Cross Cultural Issues

Culture Shock and the Process of Cultural Adjustment

How can I avoid it?

Since culture shock is a natural response, your strategy should not be how to avoid it, but instead, how to manage it. Being able to anticipate the feelings you may encounter, and having an understanding of the cycle of adjustment should help minimize much of the difficulty of adjusting to life outside of
the United States. While at times it may be an unpleasant experience to go through, adapting to a new culture provides great opportunities for personal growth and development. Allow yourself time to adjust. The first couple of weeks may be very difficult– this is perfectly normal.

  • Be aware that other countries’ education systems may be very different than the U.S. (e.g., course/class structure, feedback, grading and organization).
  • Remain open-minded, respectful and curious to enjoy and learn the most through your experience.
  • Remember that just as your opinion may not reflect that of your home country, and everyone in it, the opinions of individuals you meet do not represent their entire country’s population.
  • When you meet someone, listen to what they have to say—open your mind, listen respectfully and reserve judgment of them and/or their country.
  • Go out and meet students/people from your host country. Getting to know them will enhance your experience!

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Last modified April 26 2012 11:15 AM

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