Culture shocks faced by international students in the US

Culture shocks faced by international students in the US

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation one can experience when moving to a different culture. People might feel like they want to escape back to their home country. International students might experience culture shock when they first arrive in the US, as they may find out that there’s more than just work and school in America. Commonly experienced culture shocks in the US include:

1. Language-menu-shock

Students might get overwhelmed by the number of choices for words, terms, and phrases (especially because they might be unlearned).

2. Good/bad food shock

Students may be surprised at how different food is compared to what they are used to eating in their home country. For example, some international students might not have tasted fish before and may have difficulty eating it.

3. Political/social shock

Students might feel shocked that they are no longer in their home country and may adapt to a different political and social environment.

4. American social scene shock

Although students might feel comfortable being with other international students, they might have difficulty talking with American friends who are often doing things they’ve never done before.

5. Cultural shock

Students might be shocked when they notice a lack of familiarity with many aspects of American culture, especially considering that most Americans are immigrants (except for Native Americans, African-Americans, and European-Americans). If you live in student housing apartments like Lawrence Student Apartments, you will be living with people from all over the world. You may feel shocked when they’re exposed to a different behavior style from others.

6. American medication shock

Students may be shocked by a lack of familiarity with the types and amounts of medication taken.

7. American health shock

Students may be shocked when they don’t understand some Americans’ health conditions, especially if they’ve never seen or heard of them before.

8. Religion shock

When people take a long break from any particular religion, they might feel shocked when they find out about their ancestral religion. For example, a Hindu may be shocked when they find out about the existence of other religious groups.

9. Differences of opinions shock

Students might feel shocked when they first arrive because of the different opinions and thoughts in America. They might also feel shocked after hearing about others’ opinions and thoughts that are different from what they’ve heard in their home country. For example, an international student might be shocked because they have never heard of a “cheerleading” team before.

10. Differences of fashion shock

Students might feel embarrassed when they see Americans who are dressed unusually, especially when they’re wearing the same clothing that students are used to wearing in their home country (for example, a male student from Africa may be shocked by the casual clothes that a female American student from Ohio is wearing).

11. Trauma shock

Students might feel shocked at certain occurrences and events that happened to them in their home country, especially if they were traumatized.

12. Culture shock in general

Students might feel shocked because of the new environment and culture around them. For example, students might feel shocked that more than one color of people around them (red, white, black). For example, in African countries, Ghana, there is only one color of people. However, there are many different races of people from different cultures in the US.

13. Psychological shock

International students might have a hard time adjusting psychologically to their new environment, especially if there are several significant life changes for them, such as moving from their home country and becoming more independent (unlike their old environment) in America.

14 . Mixed identity shock

When students separate themselves from the home country, they might feel shocked when they discover that their dual identities conflict or cause disputes.

15. Identity crisis

Students may experience a crisis if they’re not sure of their own identity, given that they are members of two cultures simultaneously.

16. Cultural clashes shock

Students may be shocked by the differences of culture and identity in America, especially because most Americans have accepted it as part of their culture (for example, independence for women in America but not for women in other countries).

In conclusion, students may be shocked when they find out that there’s more to their new culture in the US than what they have expected. They might also be shocked by others’ way of thinking, beliefs, and actions in America.

Author: Alison Lurie

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