When I was an MBA student at Cambridge College, I got invited to speak at an “International Perspectives: Cross-Cultural Dialogue” series event entitled “Cultural Competence.” The purpose of this event was to elevate awareness about international students and the obstacles they overcome.
In this event, specifically, I talked about culture shock. Today I’d like to share what advice I had for international students:
What recommendations would you make for international students who are dealing with culture shock?
Do not judge. A lot of things will be different. It is important not to view everything as good or bad when you compare it to your own culture. Be open-minded.
Listen and observe. Watch others’ reaction in different situations. The more you know about how Americans behave, the less uncomfortable you will feel.
Ask questions. Don’t assume you will always know what is going on or that you will always understand everything. Be honest with your professors and staff — ask them for clarification when you do not understand something.
Join clubs on campus or start your own club. Get involved in on-campus activities and meet new people. Get out of your comfort zone. If you don’t find a club you like, start your own!