Dealing with culture shock

Moving away from home and adjusting to a new culture can be difficult. Feeling anxious or worried about coping is part of settling in. This is culture shock.

Common signs

  • Anxious and lonely
  • Sad, missing family and friends
  • Avoiding people
  • Unable to eat
  • Problems sleeping
  • Tired, not enough energy
  • Disorganised, no routine
  • Angry and confused

Stages of culture shock


When you first arrive, you are excited and   interested in discovering new things


Then you start to focus on the differences and feel   confused, homesick, frustrated or depressed. You avoid spending time with   people


You then start to resent the different culture and   perhaps feel hostile, defensive or vulnerable


Eventually, you feel more relaxed and less dependent   on others. You may start to appreciate the new culture


Finally, you feel a sense of belonging and   confidence. You enjoy both your new and home cultures

How to deal with culture shock?

  • Remember that your reactions are normal
  • Stay in contact with your family and friends
  • Talk to international students for support
  • Find students from your culture who have adjusted well
  • Make friends with Australian students who can help you learn about      their culture
  • Join a student or community group
  • Join a study group
  • Contact your department to find a tutor
  • Talk to your advisers and lecturers about problems studying

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