Culture shock

It includes the shock of a new environment, meeting lots of new people and learning the ways of a different country. It also includes the shock of being separated from the important people in your life, maybe family, friends, colleagues, teachers. When familiar sights, sounds, smells or tastes are no longer there you can miss them very much. If you are tired and jet-lagged when you arrive small things can be upsetting and out of all proportion to their real significance.

Things that can affect culture shock

  • Climate - especially with the UK winter months
  • Food - you may find british food bland or heavy compared to what you are used to
  • Language - even if you are fluent in English you may come across words local to Stoke which you do not understand
  • Dress - wearing heavy winter clothes which you may not be used to
  • Social Roles - You may find the relationships between men and women more formal or less formal than you are used to, as well as differences in same sex social contact and relationships.
  • 'Rules' of behaviour - The British generally have a reputation for punctuality. You should always be on time for lectures, classes, and meetings.
  • Values - different views of the world. When you understand both cultures, you will probably find some aspects of each that you like and others that you don’t.

How to help ease culture shock

  • Keep in contact with people back home using things like skype, snapchat, email, fatcebook, etc. Make sure you don't use these tools to avoid intergrating into the new culture.
  • Keep photos in your room of family and friends
  • Find a supplier of familiar food
  • Stay healthy - with a balanced diet and exercise
  • Make friends with both home and international students - home students will help you understand the new culture while international students can empathise with you.
  • Get involved in societies and sports
  • Take part in Keele Welcome
  • For some students linking with a faith community will put you in touch with a familiar setting.
  • Talk to someone if you are struggling, don't isolate yourself!

Find out more here.

The 5 Stages of culture shock