- Most international students experience some adjustment problems during their first months in the United States. You may feel homesick and miss your family, friends and hometown very much. American classes, your instructors and fellow students may seem very strange. The food, climate and pace of life in the United States may be very new to you. Language problems may make you feel lonely and isolated. These are all problems that most international students have had and that many Americans have while living overseas. Remember that you are not alone.
Overcoming Adjustment Problems
- There are many things you can do to overcome adjustment problems. Don’t just stay home. Try these ideas:
- Find a place where you feel comfortable (the library, the cafeteria, a friend’s room) and spend a little time there every day.
- Plan certain times during the week or day when you don’t think about your studies or problems; have some fun!
- Begin a regular exercise program. Walking one or two miles a day helps you feel healthy and relaxed.
- Talk things over with friends, classmates, AEC cross-cultural advisors, and people in the Office of International Student Services.
- Maintain regular life patterns. For example, eat meals at regular times, sleep regularly and exercise regularly.
- Attend social functions, concerts, or sporting events. Meet some people and talk with them about activities you might like to participate in.
- Contact your own nationality club on campus if there is one. The AEC cross-cultural advisors or the Office of International Student Services can help you contact other students from your country.
- In the United States, students often have a lot of personal freedom. They may choose their own friends, their own living arrangements, their own activities, and their own schedules.
- Each individual has the right to live in an environment in which he or she feels comfortable. If you experience problems in your residence hall with roommates or other people, or on campus or in town, come to the AEC office to discuss your feelings or problems with an AEC cross-cultural advisor or go to International Student Services.
- Each individual has the right to his or her own religious and philosophical ideas. If you feel that an instructor or other person in the university community is trying to influence your religious ideas against your wishes, you have the right to say, “No, thank you. I do not want to talk about religion.”
- If you want to talk about pressures you feel from members of groups, you can talk with the AEC cross-cultural advisors or a member of the Office of International Student Services.
- You may find that many Americans do not want to discuss religion at all or only in very general terms. Some Americans will appear to be uncomfortable if you ask them direct questions about their religion or if you try to share more than general information about your religion with them. Many Americans believe in tolerance for other people’s religions, but are not interested in changing to a new religion. In fact, most Americans, even those who are very religious, will not share their personal religious beliefs with anyone outside of their families because they do not want others to feel that they are trying to influence their religious choice. This is a way of showing respect for all the different religions that coexist in the United States. It is helpful to keep this in mind if the subject of religion comes up in conversation with Americans.
AEC Cross-cultural Advisors
- The AEC cross-cultural advisors are available in the AEC office to talk with you about any concerns or problems that you may have during the semester. The cross-cultural advisors are prepared to discuss matters of attendance, cultural adjustment, health, family, academics, and other matters of personal concern. The cross-cultural advisors want to help you in any way possible to make your stay here a comfortable and rewarding one. You may make an appointment with an AEC cross-cultural advisor by phoning the AEC office (864-4606) or by stopping by the office.