York Student Health

Culture Shock

Culture Shock

"Culture shock" describes the impact of moving from a familiar culture to one which is unfamiliar.

Contributing aspects include climate, food, language, behaviour and values. It is common for new international students to experience upset stomachs following arrival. This is usually due to the body adjusting to different food and water and it does not mean you are allergic to UK foods.

Coupled with having to make new friends and being separated from family, life can be very difficult when you arrive.

This is perfectly normal and as you settle in and make new friends things will get easier. The "Stages of Adjustment" document below shows the emotions that most students feel arriving at university in a different country. To try and reduce the fall to the "disintegration stages", some tips would be:

  • Take a shopping trip to an international supermarket
  • Get involved with activities so you meet new people and make friends
  • Get in touch with members of your faith group through the University chaplaincy

However, if you are worried about how you are feeling you are always welcome to make an appointment to see a member of the counselling service (Open Door team at the University of York).

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