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Wellbeing

Being aware of culture shock

By UALHalls 21 Nov 2017

Leaving home whether it be from this country or overseas can be very stressful, but do not worry as this is quite normal. Many of you will be experiencing various degrees of culture shock.


Culture shock is the impact of moving away from the familiar to the unfamiliar. You can be affected by climate, food, language, dress, social roles, rules of behaviour and values. Some of the symptoms you may experience are headaches, stomach aches, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, etc. Depending on the individual, the time taken to settle into your new environment can vary considerably. The following advice may help:

  •  It’s normal to experience this; chat with others to see how they feel.
  • Keep in touch with home.
  • Have familiar things around you, such as photographs.
  • Eat properly. If you do not like the “new culture’s” food, find a supplier of familiar food.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try and meet as many new people from other cultures as possible to talk through how you and they feel and make new friends.
  • Find out about the many different services and societies the University has to offer e.g. Student Services, Students Union, Chaplaincy, etc.
  • Do not isolate yourself; there is plenty of help available. Start by contacting a member of staff at the Hall.

For more information about how culture shock may affect you, visit the website for the UK Council for International Student Affairs.