Adjusting to Life and Culture of
The United States

Leaving your own familiar surroundings and moving to a new environment usually requires a period of adjustment. You will be learning new things about the campus you will attend, about the community in which you will live, and about the many different ways that people view the world. Though sometimes challenging, experiencing and understanding a way of life different from your own will be a valuable aspect of your stay in the United States.

Here are some general suggestions that others have made that may help ease your transition:

Remember that moving to a new environment is a learning experience
In addition to furthering your education and learning more about your academic field, you will also be learning how people in this culture live.

Ask Questions
The best way to find out about something you don’t understand or that you are uncertain about is to ask questions. People are generally very helpful, but they cannot guess what you need.

Practice speaking English
If you are not accustomed to speaking English often, it may be somewhat stressful and frustrating in the beginning. But, the more you practice the more proficient you will become and the more confident you will feel. Your efforts to communicate in English will be appreciated even if you don’t think you speak perfect English.

Have a sense of humor
It is likely that you will make some mistakes as you explore a new culture. It helps if you can laugh at your experiences as you learn.

Be honest
If you are confused about something or if there is a misunderstanding, it is usually better to admit your confusion rather than pretend that everything is all right. ·      

Recognize frustration and anxiety
This is a very normal part of the adjustment process and is a very common experience for International students, especially after the initial period of excitement wears off. Talk with friends, an International Peer Assistant, or an International Student Advisor for support if you find this difficult to manage on your own.

Try not to judge
You will see many things that are different from your own culture. Try not to label customs, habits, or ideas as “good” or “bad”. Instead, try to view them as different and get more information before you make an interpretation.

Get involved
The more you put into it the more you'll get out of it. Go to events where you will meet people and form friendships, such as the International Club, programs sponsored by Student Life, and other campus and community activities.

Dalton State, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720
706.272.4436 • 1.800.829.4436 •