International Students

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:

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

Learn more about getting involved with the Office of International Affairs, and visit Student Activities to see the variety of clubs and organizations available to students.

American Customs

Email Etiquette

Plan to use your Ohio State email address. It is customary to wait at least 24 hours for a response to an email. While some matters may be urgent and will be answered more promptly, most of the time, it will take your classmate, professor or OIA immigration coordinator at least one day to answer your email. Depending on people’s schedules and time constraints, it can take even longer. Also, remember that American names are spoken and written with the given name first and the family name last. Someone named John Smith would have Smith as their family name, not John.

Learn more tips at

Personal Space

In the United States, people like to maintain personal space (physical distance) between themselves and others. They create an “invisible bubble” around themselves and may feel uncomfortable if others get too close. 


Ohio State has adopted a tobacco-free policy that supports a healthy environment for all members of its community. The use of all types of tobacco products is prohibited in all university buildings and on all university-owned properties, including parking lots, garages and all outside areas. Students who are caught smoking on campus will be referred to Student Conduct. Learn more at

Bias and Discrimination

Bias incidents are negative acts or behaviors motivated by bias against how another person looks or on the group, class or category to which they belong. While these acts do not necessarily rise to the level of a crime or a violation of university policy, a bias incident may contribute to creating an unsafe, negative or unwelcoming environment. If you witness or become a victim of a bias incident, report it to the Office of Institutional Equity.