Culture shock and adjustment cycle

Everyone experiences culture shock in different ways and to different degrees, but generally students go through the following stages.

1. The first stage

Everything seems exciting, interesting and new to the student; they are eager to be involved and engaged with everyone and everything.

2. Culture fatigue

The student starts to dwell on differences between their homeland and the US. They begin to feel uncomfortable. Using English nearly all the time makes them tired, both physically and mentally.

3. Surface adjustment

As the initial excitement and fatigue settle down, the student begins to make connections with family and friends, feeling more confident and comfortable.

4. Hidden problems

Outwardly the student seems to be fitting in, but they are also questioning certain aspects of the culture. The student may be homesick or have conflicts with family and friends.

5. Fitting in

The student truly feels part of the culture and has built genuine connections.

6. Going home

The student begins to have mixed feelings about going home.

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