Adjusting to university life


What can you expect once you are on the other side of the crisis stage of culture shock? You no longer have serious thoughts of leaving or transferring although you may have the occasional day when you wonder if you really have made the right decision to be here. Your ‘good’ days now outnumber the ‘bad.’ This doesn’t mean everything is all rosy and cheery. The ups and downs will continue, but they will not seem as chaotic or powerful as they were when you were in the throes of culture shock.

The first stage.

Once you have either consciously or unconsciously decided you are going to settle in this place and become a part of it, you have begun the “Entering Stage” of the transition cycle. But those chaotic emotions we talked about in the phases of culture shock can continue.

Self-doubt can set in when you feel you are not relating well to others. You can become self-conscious about everything. At times your actions, words or behaviors may be misinterpreted. Your cultural signals don’t work in this place so you become fearful of making mistakes and have to think twice before saying or doing anything that might bring another round of laughter.


Grief gets recycled and revisited. Grief processing is a continuous exercise that can be cyclic. Something reminds you of home – a smell, a sound, a song – and you are momentarily swept back home. It is again time to name those losses, spend time with the grief associated with the loss, bring them to closure, and move forward.