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The Ohio State UniversityOffice of International Affairs

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Cultural Adjustment

After arriving in the United States, international students experience a period of cultural adjustment. Following the first few weeks of novelty and excitement, most international students experience culture shock. Culture shock is the natural and expected period of frustration, confusion and negative feeling toward the new culture that many people undergo when they move from one culture to another. Not sure if you are experiencing culture shock? Look for these signals:

  • Homesickness
  • Unusual irritability and hostility
  • Boredom
  • Withdrawal
  • Need for excessive amounts of sleep
  • Compulsive eating or drinking
  • Stereotyping of host culture
  • Loss of ability to work effectively
  • Physical ailments

Even though the exact situation for each student will vary, experts have found some helpful coping strategies:

  • Stay alert to the signals as signs of change
  • Make friends and discovering helpful people at the university
  • Eat well and exercise
  • Keep a journal
  • Slow down and enjoy some quiet time
  • Minimize catastrophic thinking by turning “What if” into “What else”
  • Try to understand many aspects of the new culture
  • Maintain contact with family and friends back home
  • involved in an activity or with a group.

Visit activities.osu.edu/involvement to learn more about the variety of clubs and organizations available to students

GET INVOLVED

Being involved in different programs, activities and groups can help you make new connections and develop a network. It can also help improve your English speaking skills, provide professional and personal growth and give you opportunities to have fun!

Global Engagement

The global engagement team at the Office of International Affairs promotes cross-cultural interactions through creative programming that is free for Ohio State students.

Global Engagement Nights

An hour-long program for students that’s perfect for cross-cultural discussions about regions of the world, sports, food and other topics. All are welcome to join the conversation every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in 160 Enarson Classroom Building.

Film Series

Monthly opportunity to watch films from around the world for free with a BuckID. Films are shown every fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Gateway Film Center.

Trips

International and domestic students can enter a lottery every autumn and spring semester to go on a weekend trip. Day-long excursions to various cities and local events also happen throughout the year.

English Conversation Program

It’s a fun way for students looking to improve intercultural communication, practice their English and make new friends. Students meet in conversation groups, attend workshops and go on exciting trips around Columbus. Visit go.osu.edu/ECProgram.

Social Events

Several social events are held each month for international and domestic students to meet, interact and get globally engaged.

Visit go.osu.edu/globalengagement for details and to sign up for a weekly e-newsletter, or stay in touch by liking them at facebook.com/GlobalEngagementatOhioState.

Student Organizations

There are more than 1,000 registered student organizations on campus, including academic, social, recreational, religious, political and special interest groups. Ohio State has many international organizations, including nationality clubs, made up of students from several different countries. Joining an organization is one way many Americans make new friends. For a complete listing of student organizations, please visit activities.osu.edu/involvement/student_ organizations.

Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward is an online database of volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering to serve the community with worthwhile projects, call the Ohio Union at

614-688-4636 or visit payitforward.osu.edu.