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Culture Shock in College

The Major Contributing factors to High Culture Shock in College

Going away from home to study in a new country or environment can be very stressful. You can plan for it for a long period but the effects and magnitude of change can take you by surprise. It’s normal to get surprised by the way of doing things in your new environment. This surprise is what we refer to as culture shock.

Some cultures may be more similar to others because of demographic, historic and geographic connections. However, you will always find a different way of doing some things. It is essential to understand how to deal with culture shock in college.

Taking too long to adapt to a new way of life may be detrimental to your academic and social life. This paper presents the various types of culture shock you may encounter and the different ways of dealing with each.



Many students find the new climate affecting them more than anything else. You could be coming from a place where you have never experienced the effects of winter. It’s very hard to cope with the dampness and grayness of a new environment if you grew up in warmer climatic conditions.  

Though it’s difficult to cope with such an environment, you can always learn from your colleagues. Buy enough clothes to keep you warm during winter and cool during summer. The way people put on in different climatic conditions entirely depends on the prevailing conditions. Learn from them and adapt within the shortest time possible.

Your objective is to learn and climate should not hinder you from achieving your goals. However, we have so many scholars who have gone back home because there were unable to cope with the new climatic conditions. These climatic conditions should not worry you because they become normal with time.



It’s normal to find eating behaviors in your new school environment strange at initial stages. You may find out that it has been prepared in a different way. College food may also taste very differently because of different techniques of preparing it.

You may end up relying on fast foods especially if you are not allowed to cook for yourself. However, you can check around and see whether you can come across a person who supplies food that is common to you. You can also eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as you try to adapt to the new food.

The advantage of the culture shock due to food is that it doesn’t last forever. You can begin by consuming small amounts of this food and with time, it becomes very delicious. In fact, most people end up loving the new food more than their traditional meals.



It is very hard to keep on talking and listening to a strange language. You miss your home language which you have been speaking on a daily basis. It is very demoralizing to rarely come across a person you can identify with in terms of your local language.

Language culture shock is among the hardest to adapt to. You end up relying on your second language which you may not be very fluent in. You may find out that the regional accents are very hard to cope with. It may take you several months for you to start communicating fluently with the locals.

Some of the locals may speak very fast and it sounds embarrassing to tell them to repeat. You may not get some words and hence a communication barrier. You need to be very attentive especially in class for you to overcome these language barriers.



It’s very hard to adapt to warm winter clothing if you come from warmer environments. It is also very hard to put on light summer clothes if you come from a conservative religious background. Sometimes you may consider a peoples’ style of dressing as immodest, comical, unattractive or simply drab.

The goodness is that you come to appreciate it with time. You may find yourself dressing in a similar manner after some time. It’s good to observe keenly but never criticize what you are seeing or hearing.


Social Roles

Some social behaviors may surprise, offend or confuse you if you are not careful. You may find people appearing to be distant and cold or ever in a hurry. You will get a culture shock if you come from a place where you have to greet anyone you meet.

You may find men relating with women in a more or less formal way from the way you do it at home. It’s also normal to find the roles of each gender different from what you know. It’s good to adapt to these social roles the way they are, lest you take a very long time trying to come to terms with the current happenings.


The Rules of Behavior

Each culture has its unspoken rules that affect the way individuals interact with one another. People differ in the way they plan for time or organize their tasks. Some people may find men cooking very abnormal, but some cultures see it as usual.

You may be forced to be always punctual something you may not be used to. It’s hard to understand these rules but once you do so they become the order of the day.



Individuals from different backgrounds always have varying views about life. The building blocks of culture include life beliefs, assumptions, norms, and values. It’s stressing to find people do not share the same set of ideas than yours.  You may have an assumption that your beliefs are universally acceptable. Nonetheless, values are relative!

A culture shock comes in when you discover that people have very different beliefs from yours.  It’s advisable to suspend any judgments until you come to an understanding of how these values come into a coherent whole. Evaluate what people do and say in their cultural context.

You need to understand the behavior of other people as they seek to understand yours. This will make you settle down within the shortest time possible. You should not take a very long period coming to terms with the new culture.



Having gone through the various elements of culture shock, you have all it takes to adapt to your new college environment. It is good to settle down within the shortest time possible and embark on your studies.

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