The Adjustment Experience | University of Portland

The Adjustment Experience

When you decided to study in the United States, you may have anticipated making some adjustments in climate, food, time, and culture. The cultural adjustment process is not an easy one, but it can be an extremely productive and rewarding experience. It does not happen overnight, over one week, or even over one month. It may take several months to feel comfortable in your new environment. However, with time many international students attain new levels of self-awareness, personal growth, and cultural understanding.

Culture is the product of all learning that shapes thoughts, beliefs, language, and social patterns (which include social expectations and social rules). In other words, culture affects every aspect of one's life, from making friends to writing a paper. When you move from one culture to another, things that you take for granted, even things you may not be aware of, are absent or different. Familiar social expectations and clues are no longer the same. Everything seems to change. You may wonder why friendships are different and why every one is standing so far away or too close. The confusion and strangeness you might feel are all a part of living in a different culture.

Source: Portland State University International Student Handbook