Adjustment Tips | University of Portland

Adjustment Tips

The following is important advice that will help you through the Cultural Adjustment Process.

  • Be aware of the existence of the cultural adjustment process. Realize that it is natural to miss your family, friends, and home. Talk about these feelings with someone you feel comfortable with or someone who has experienced the same feelings in the past.
  • Sometimes it can be important to spend time with people from your home country or those who are in the same situation as you. There is international student organization that you can join to meet others who have experienced the same feelings.
  • Find a US American to be a cultural informant for you to gain insight into US American culture. Before you ask a question, ask yourself the same question of your home culture and make sure it is a question you could answer about your culture. No one likes to be asked impossible questions. Also, try asking several different US Americans the same question. The differences and similarities in answers may surprise you.
  • Stay busy. Get involved in activities, but also continue hobbies and sports that you enjoy in your home county.
  • Maintain your sense of humor. Anyone who has lived in another culture has funny and/or embarrassing stories. You are not alone. Laughing at these situations can ease the tension.
  • Keep realistic expectations. It may take longer to accomplish tasks in a new culture, a new academic environment, and a new language.
  • Remain open minded, flexible, and adaptable. You will find things that don't make sense. Remember that you are experiencing these events through your particular cultural lens. It will take some time before you can see through a US American lens.
  • Remember that being in a new culture can be confusing. It is often difficult to figure things out on your own. The important thing to remember is to ask questions.
  • Communicate with your instructors at UP. In many cultures students do not talk to the faculty. Here in the United States, it is extremely important to talk to your instructors. If you do not understand an assignment, are going to miss class, or are unable to turn in an assignment, talk to your teachers. The only way they can make decisions about your class work is if you inform them. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with them directly, you can speak to the staff in ISS.
Source: PSU International Student Handbook