Cultural Adjustment

Living in another place which is not your home is a learning process and it is completely normal to feel "out of place".

Since coming to Champlain College from another place, you no doubt have encountered many new things from the architecture, landscape, the taste of the food to the behavior of the people. Moving to a new place that may be very different from your home involves many changes that can impact your health and sense of well-being.

According to Gary Althen and Janet Bennett (244-246), there are several "stages of adjustment" into a new environment:

Culture Surprise - unexpected, unfamiliar things you experience

Culture Stress - overwhelmed by routine tasks which cannot get done because you don't know how to do them in a different context.

Culture Shock - feelings of isolation, disorientation, or confusion - products of engaging with fundamental differences in values and way of life.

Culture Learning - an understanding where you are and what the expectations are (competence).

Culture Acceptance - feelings of accomplishment and acceptance of place in the new environment.

*Althen, Gary, and Janet M. Bennett. American Ways: A Cultural Guide to the United States. Intercultural Press, 2011.

It is important to note that these stages are not linear - you will find that you will oscillate between stages regularly with every new piece of learning in a new environment.

While International Orientation, the SAP-150-01 course, and all OISS programming are designed to help you through this transition, you might find that you are encountering difficulties adjusting to your new environment and having difficulties adjusting to U.S. academics.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Director, OISS.

Champlain College offers many services to help international students and exchange visitors make these types of adjustments.

You are never alone in your cultural adjustment journey!

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